The fleet of new double deckers is arriving en masse, and I'm receiving reports that a few drivers are getting sick while driving them. According to union sources, four drivers have complained of carbon monoxide poisoning type symptoms. The buses in question are 8009, 8029, and 8031. One driver in particular reported vomiting, and had blood levels four times higher than what is deemed "safe" according to the source.
Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide is inhaled. In a transit setting, this gas might be produced from unburned diesel fuel, or unburned auxiliary heater fuel that has found itself sucked into an opening by the convective forces of a warm bus and the rising warm air within it. The colourless, odourless gas, once inhaled, attaches itself to the haemoglobin in blood, blocking oxygen transportation throughout the body and causing major tissue damage throughout.
Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are as follows:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Headaches, often described as dull, frontal, and continuous
- Malaise and Fatigue
Opening your window is not enough. If the source of the fumes is active, it will draw the deadly gas to you in the same way that perfume is drawn to you when Mary Kay gets on your bus with a half bottle of Channel poured all over her. A warm bus with an open window will draw air from the lowest pressured intake on the bus. If fumes are getting in, they will exit past your nose and out your window.
The above link is a recent example of how chronic exposure to carbon monoxide can kill an unsuspecting bus driver. While an example of a worst case scenario, it is non-fiction and relevant to a possible threat on these new buses.
Don't be a canary. Recognize the symptoms. Report it immediately. Seek medical attention if you suspect that your symptoms might be a product of carbon monoxide.