Carboxyhemoglobin Concentrations in Blood from Donors in Chicago, Milwaukee, New York, and Los Angeles

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Science  28 Dec 1973:
Vol. 182, Issue 4119, pp. 1362-1364
DOI: 10.1126/science.182.4119.1362


To determine the carbon monoxide exposure experienced by the residents of Chicago, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, and New York, venous blood samples were obtained from adults at arbitrarily chosen blood bank collection sites in the four cities and analyzed for circulating carbon monoxide, carboxyhemoglobin. For comparative purposes, blood was obtained from volunteers breathing carbon monoxide-free air and was found to contain 0.45 percent carboxyhemoglobin. By contrast a high percentage of all the nonsmoking blood donors breathing city air had carboxyhemoglobin saturations greater than 1.5 percent, which indicated that exposure to carbon monoxide in excess of that permitted by the quality standards of the Clean Air Act of 1971 was widespread and occurring regularly.