[Method] Exit bag and inert gas megathread

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TiredHorse

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Exit Bag and Inert Gas Basics —A very, very long post, I know, but I feel like I've fielded a lot of questions about this, so I figured I'd spell out everything I know. Others on the forum should please add to this thread whatever reliable technical information they feel is appropriate for someone attempting this method to have.

The idea behind using an exit bag with inert gas is to create an atmosphere around your head that is both free of life-sustaining O2 and can carry away the exhaled CO2 that would activate your hypercapnic alarm.

The Gas:

You will need to keep the inert gas flowing at 15 liters per minute (Lpm) for 40 minutes to be confident of ending your life —in other words, you’ll need a minimum of 600 liters of inert gas. In the past this would have been helium (He), but due to the uncertain availability of genuinely pure He, the best current options are nitrogen (N2) and argon (Ar). Both are reliably available in pure form (no air contamination) from stores that supply welders. N2 is also available from some brewery supply houses, but the purity of the gas should be confirmed to your satisfaction. Both N2 and Ar should work to ctb and are similar enough in their properties to be treated identically for use with an exit bag.

Pressurized gas cylinder sizes are not standardized across the industry, nor internationally, and it can be difficult, if not impossible, to tell how much gas they contain from a photograph on a website.

In the US, a 20 cubic foot (cf) cylinder is the smallest you should use for ctb; a 40cf will allow some margin for flinching, practicing, etc. “A 20cf” and “a 40cf”, or “a 20” and “a 40” is nomenclature US welding supply houses will recognize, so asking for either should get you the desired product. A 20cf cylinder is quite small for industrial use; I’ve had clerks tell me, “well, we have a 40, but we’ll need to special order a 20.” It’s up to you what you do in that situation. Personally, I have a 40cf cylinder. It has allowed me to flinch and abort my attempt three times now, and I don’t need to worry about refilling it. I bought my N2 at AirGas, a national company here in the US. They do not demand any sort of professional certification for purchasing inert gas, and no more than the usual forms of ID depending on payment method.

I know nothing of gas cylinders outside the US, so if you are using other than US-typical cylinders, you’ll need to call and ask to make sure whatever tank you’re contemplating holds 600L of compressed gas. Hopefully knowledgeable forum members will add cylinder sizing information to this knowledge base.

Cover story: N2 and Ar are both used for welding. N2 is used in beer brewing. In my day job, I use both N2 and Ar to flood partial cans of expensive paint, to displace the O2 in the cans and prevent the paint from skinning over and going bad. It’s a cost saving measure. The clerks I’ve bought gas from have never heard of that trick, which has meant they don’t know enough to interrogate me on my motives or to try and quiz me on my welding knowledge. They have merely said, “huh! That’s a new one!”

The store clerk may ask how you’re carrying the pressurized cylinder “back to your shop,” since pressurized cylinders can be very hazardous to transport (the valve is vulnerable to damage in an accident). I haven’t had any trouble when I have told the clerk, “in the back footwell of my car, and very carefully padded!” What they really want to know is that you are aware that a pressurized cylinder is a missile waiting to explode if anything damages it, and that you know enough to not let that happen.
 
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TiredHorse

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The Regulator:

A regulator screws on to the cylinder and does two things: 1) it reduces the pressure in the cylinder to a useable level, otherwise the 2000psi tank pressure would just blow the exit bag off your head as soon as you opened the valve, and 2) it controls the rate of gas flow into the exit bag —specifically, it should release it at 15Lpm, which is the minimum adequate to carry away exhaled CO2 and fool your lungs into believing there’s enough air.

The good news is that while gas cylinder sizes are not globally standardized, the cylinder valve threads are —and both N2 and Ar cylinders have the same threads (other gasses have different threads), so a regulator that fits on one cylinder will fit equally well on another.

You don’t need to worry about being sure to choose a regulator that will reduce the pressure: they all do that. The flowmeter is the critical element of the regulator for our purposes.

Some regulators come with a “click adjust” flowmeter that is very simple, allowing you to dial in 15Lpm without needing to think about it. To the best of my knowledge, these are medical grade regulators; generally very good quality, but often a bit more expensive. Others here may know more about them, and where to acquire them, than I do.

A typical welding regulator will have two gauges: the tank pressure gauge (unimportant to us) and the flowmeter gauge.

A welding regulator’s flowmeter gauge will be marked in either cubic feet per hour (Cfh), Lpm, or both. Some welding systems require a fairly low flow of inert gas, much lower than our necessary 15Lpm, and this low flow is most easily measured in Cfh. If you see a gauge marked only in Cfh, it probably will not work for our purpose. Look at the highest Cfh setting on the flowmeter and do the math, to be certain. If the gauge reads in Lpm, a glance should tell you whether the regulator provides the necessary 15Lpm flow.

Harbor Freight Tools offers a cheap CO2/Ar regulator (it also works for N2) with a flowmeter that shows flow in both Cfh and Lpm and goes high enough for our purposes. This is what I have.

The Hose:

The hose needs to be long enough to reach from the gas cylinder beside you, up into the exit bag on your head. I have found it easiest to lead the hose up my back and into the bag at the very back of my neck. It seems to disrupt the fit of the bag less right there.

Some regulators come with a hose that threads directly into the regulator body. Some regulators come with a hose-barb, onto which a length of soft tubing can be pressed. Some regulators come with neither.

For the first situation, just thread the hose into the regulator, tighten it with a wrench, and it’s ready.

(Regardless of what type of threaded fitting is used, you do need to wrench-tighten this fitting: a lot of gas can leak out at this connection. If it is a brass fitting, you should not need teflon tape on the threads; the soft metal deforms enough when tightened to provide an adequately gas-tight connection.)

For the second situation, take the hose-barb to a hardware / home improvement store and purchase tubing that fits onto the barb. Once home from the hardware store, thread the barb into the regulator body, tighten with a wrench, and press the tube onto the barb. It should be a snug fit; if you’re worried it’s too loose, use a small hose clamp / jubilee clip to secure it in place. If it’s a little too tight to get the hose into place, soak the end of the tube in very hot water to soften it and press it onto the barb. I used clear vinyl tubing. Aquarium tubing should work. Surgical tubing may not; I don’t know for sure.

For the third situation, you’ll need a hose-barb fitting (typically brass) that threads into the regulator body. Take the entire regulator to the hardware store and ask someone to help you fit it with a hose barb. Then proceed as for the second situation.

Cover story: as with purchasing the gas cylinder, you’re using N2 for brewing, or Ar for filling partial paint cans. Why Ar? because it’s heavier than air and settles down onto the paint surface inside the can. For extra confidence that they won’t ask inconvenient questions, you’re doing it for your father, or your brother, and you don’t know why they want it for their paint locker, they just said to get a hose barb and six feet of tubing…

The Exit Bag:

There are several videos on YouTube detailing construction of exit bags. I strongly recommend watching them. That’s how I learned.

The short version of what you want is a turkey roasting bag —available in the supermarket, in with the zip-locks and cling wrap— with an elastic drawcord worked into a turned hem, and a cord-lock to adjust the drawcord’s tension.

I used 3/8” elastic cord. I purchased both it and the cord lock at a sewing and crafts store (JoAnn’s).

To construct the turned hem you’ll need micropore (surgical) tape, available at a pharmacy in the first aid section. It’s the right tape to use because it will reliably stick to the material of the bag itself. Sometimes it isn’t labeled as “micropore.” Ask a clerk if you can’t find it.

Cover story: you were asked to re-stock the family first aid kit with micropore tape and you don’t recognize any of the brands available.

Using an elastic drawcord is important: it needs to fit snugly around your neck, but not seal tightly. It must still be flexible enough for the flow of inert gas, lightly pressurizing the exit bag, to push past the elastic and flush away the CO2 you’re exhaling. Don’t use a non-elastic drawcord or do something like duct tape the bag to your neck; you don’t want to create a seal, just a restriction.
 
T

TiredHorse

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To Use:

If I found all this on the internet, I’m sure you can, but maybe these will address a few of the questions I’ve encountered here.

Start by sitting upright in a chair. My understanding is that you should not be lying down, and that you want to be confident you won’t fall over when you black out, as any final twitching with your head rumpling the bag against whatever you are lying on might displace the bag enough to allow the inert gas to escape.

I have heard fears of convulsions with this method, but I have also heard —more plausibly— that accounts of convulsions are more accurately associated with sedated-suffocation (a predecessor to this inert gas technique) rather than to inert gas asphyxiation. However, a few final twitches are possible as the electrical activity in the brain fades, and it would be tragic to have the attempt ruined by not taking the simple precaution of being sitting up and stable.

To feel confident that any post-mortem twitching will not knock the cylinder over and jerk the tube out of the exit bag, secure the cylinder to the leg of your chair. I use a piece of webbing; duct tape or a length of cord would work.

If you wear glasses, as I do, remove them. They will be a hindrance when you need to pull the gas-filled bag down over your face, and will allow space for air to remain in the bag.

To pre-fit the drawcord, pull the bag down over your head and face. Tighten the elastic drawcord around your neck so that it’s snug, but not cinched tight. You should be able to fit your fingers under it.

Lift the bag up off your face so that the drawcord is now around your temples and just above your eyebrows, below your ears and around the back of your neck, like a shower cap. After adjusting the drawcord to your neck, it will feel tight around your head; this is good.

Scrunch ALL the air out of the bag. The more air you can remove, the faster the inert gas will take effect. If you ignore this step, your attempt will likely fail.

At this point the end of the hose should be inside the bag. I have long hair, so I secure the end of the hose at the back of my head with a hair elastic. Others have taped the end of the hose securely to the inside of the bag with more micropore tape.

If you have long hair, like I do, make sure it is bundled up inside the exit bag, not sticking out under the drawcord.

With the regulator closed, open the valve of the cylinder. There will be a sharp hiss as the regulator fills.

Open the regulator and adjust the flow of gas to 15Lpm. The gas flowing through the tube was surprisingly loud to me, and a bit distracting. Someone here kindly recommended earplugs, which I may do on my next attempt. Or I may listen to music; I doubt earbud wires will displace the drawcord.

The bag will gradually inflate above your head. It will take a minute or two to reach full inflation.

As the bag is inflating, take deep breaths, exhaling fully, to purge as much CO2 as possible from the depths of your lungs.

When the bag is inflated and you’re ready, exhale as completely as possible and hold your lungs empty. Slide the bag down over your face and settle the elastic comfortably around your neck. Finally, inhale as deeply as possible; breathe slowly and deeply.
 
T

TiredHorse

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My experience was that I soon began to feel tingling in my hands, as if they were falling asleep. A short moment later I began to get dizzy, and my vision went grey around the edges. Each of the three times I have attempted this method, that’s as far as I got before I flinched and removed the bag.

I did not experience any pain whatsoever, and no real discomfort aside from the mild tingling in my hands.

I do not believe I have suffered any ill effects from three aborted attempts. I had a bit of a cough for a couple days after my third attempt, but I can’t say for sure whether that was attributable to the N2. It concerns me only in that this method demands that you be able to breathe freely in order for it to be effective, and I don’t want to have ruined my chances to use it later, when I have summoned my courage.

My greatest difficulty is that I have been very stressed during my attempts, and could not keep my breathing steady and deep. This undoubtedly lengthened the amount of time it should have taken for me to black out.

In the stress of the situation, I experienced time dilation —in other words, I can’t tell you how long it took for me to feel dizzy; it might have been five seconds, it might have been a minute and a half. It wasn’t very long —but it was long enough for me to flinch.

From my experience, this is as painless, comfortable, and potentially peaceful a way to ctb as it is rumored to be. The only drawbacks that I can see are that it requires a lot of equipment —cylinder, regulator, hose, bag— and that there is a surprising amount of time for your survival instinct to kick in, or for second thoughts.

As I wrote at the beginning, I hope other forum members can fill in some of the blanks I have left —specifically, I have seen a lot of questions about tank sizes outside the US that I cannot answer.

I don’t wish anyone good luck at catching the bus. I wish we could all find our way to a joyous and satisfying life that would make death an unfortunate reality rather than a longed-for relief. But all of us here know that the Fates aren’t always that kind, and so I wish you all the most peaceful relief from your pain that you can find, and if that peace is brought by Death, I hope Death comes gently.
 
Made4TV

Made4TV

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Actually, it kind of *is* this complicated, especially when you're explaining a lot of different things to people. I thank you, Tired Horse, for doing this. For folks willing to read it and follow along I think it's helpful. Would be awesome if we could add some pictures to the thread. This is my method and this confirms everything I have purchased and done. It didn't seem that complicated, but for people who don't normally buy inert gases, it is nice to know what to say and what is expected when we ask for something. There have also been TONS of questions on here back and forth about laying down, sitting up, mask, bag, no bag, elastic tight, too tight, not tight enough, etc. This is good work, imo.
Also adding that for me, I plan to ctb in my car in a slightly reclining position with my seatbelt on, with the tank in the seat next to me also seat belted in. Like we're going on a little drive to neverland....
 
Smilla

Smilla

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The people need to Read the PPH and other sources
I’ve received PMs about this method and it’s getting tiresome because it’s clear from their questions that they haven’t bothered to read anything at all about this method from the assisted dying guide resources.

So, thank you TiredHorse for explaining the method in detail—hopefully it will spark some useful discussion and convo.

N2 is not a “missle ready to explode”
Btw.

I have received a lot of great information from various threads on here about this method; I’d hate to see someone use this site as their sole source of information no matter how thorough.
 
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Shewaitsforme

Shewaitsforme

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I hear you @Smilla ive used information from here, asked questions but still done my own research via the web. Even watched a video of a pig being exposed to inert gas to show how painless it is. Unless people are willing to do the resesrch away from this site too they wont be able to get themselves to a level they are comfortable with their chosen method thus giving more chance of it failing. Research to back up information on here i say
 
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TiredHorse

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N2 is not a “missle ready to explode”
Any compressed gas cylinder --flammable or non-flammable gas-- is a potential missile waiting to go off. Just damage that valve and you'll find out what pressurized inert gas can do. Will you get a fireball? No, of course not, but compressed gas cylinders can be very dangerous if they're not handled with due caution. The point of that part of my post is that the people selling you those cylinders need to know you're aware of the hazard. Flub that detail and you might be denied your N2.
I plan to ctb in my car in a slightly reclining position with my seatbelt on, with the tank in the seat next to me also seat belted in.
Perfect! Thank you for adding this. I might consider that for myself.
Research to back up information on here i say
Yes. Emphatically yes.

My intent for this post was to cover the basics and hopefully answer some of the questions I have read many times. It is not meant to be --and cannot be-- an encyclopaedic gathering of all information on the subject. Hopefully people will continue to add to it, post links to useful resources, etc.
 
T

TiredHorse

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Shoot I don’t want to damage the valve. I guess I need to learn more. I got it yesterday and wasn’t warned of any problems. How could we damage the valve?
Generally speaking, you won't damage the valve by handling the tank normally. Valves get damaged when you drop the tank off the back of a truck, or --and this is where the gas stores get worried-- when you're in a traffic accident and the tank gets thrown around your vehicle. The gas stores worry about you putting the tank in the back of your car, unsecured, and then on the way home there's an accident, the valve is damaged, and the tank takes off like a rocket. (There are many YouTube videos about compressed gas cylinder incidents if you want to see dramatic examples of what can happen.)

I mentioned the possibility of gas cylinder damage only because the stores have often asked me questions akin to, "you do know to be careful and to secure that tank properly, right?" and because I've had friends tell me of gas stores requiring a waiver be signed that the purchaser knows the tanks need to be carried safely. Unless you drop the tank on its head, it's unlikely you'll damage your N2 tank at home.
 
Fucking loving it

Fucking loving it

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Sep 3, 2018
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I am thinking of this as a new method. I have to do the research and find out approximately how much it costs.
My method was full suspension hanging. Very cheap.
I like the way you just quickly slip away painless.
 
Sundayafternoon

Sundayafternoon

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May 18, 2018
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To Use:

If I found all this on the internet, I’m sure you can, but maybe these will address a few of the questions I’ve encountered here.

Start by sitting upright in a chair. My understanding is that you should not be lying down, and that you want to be confident you won’t fall over when you black out, as any final twitching with your head rumpling the bag against whatever you are lying on might displace the bag enough to allow the inert gas to escape.

I have heard fears of convulsions with this method, but I have also heard —more plausibly— that accounts of convulsions are more accurately associated with sedated-suffocation (a predecessor to this inert gas technique) rather than to inert gas asphyxiation. However, a few final twitches are possible as the electrical activity in the brain fades, and it would be tragic to have the attempt ruined by not taking the simple precaution of being sitting up and stable.

To feel confident that any post-mortem twitching will not knock the cylinder over and jerk the tube out of the exit bag, secure the cylinder to the leg of your chair. I use a piece of webbing; duct tape or a length of cord would work.

If you wear glasses, as I do, remove them. They will be a hindrance when you need to pull the gas-filled bag down over your face, and will allow space for air to remain in the bag.

To pre-fit the drawcord, pull the bag down over your head and face. Tighten the elastic drawcord around your neck so that it’s snug, but not cinched tight. You should be able to fit your fingers under it.

Lift the bag up off your face so that the drawcord is now around your temples and just above your eyebrows, below your ears and around the back of your neck, like a shower cap. After adjusting the drawcord to your neck, it will feel tight around your head; this is good.

Scrunch ALL the air out of the bag. The more air you can remove, the faster the inert gas will take effect. If you ignore this step, your attempt will likely fail.

At this point the end of the hose should be inside the bag. I have long hair, so I secure the end of the hose at the back of my head with a hair elastic. Others have taped the end of the hose securely to the inside of the bag with more micropore tape.

If you have long hair, like I do, make sure it is bundled up inside the exit bag, not sticking out under the drawcord.

With the regulator closed, open the valve of the cylinder. There will be a sharp hiss as the regulator fills.

Open the regulator and adjust the flow of gas to 15Lpm. The gas flowing through the tube was surprisingly loud to me, and a bit distracting. Someone here kindly recommended earplugs, which I may do on my next attempt. Or I may listen to music; I doubt earbud wires will displace the drawcord.

The bag will gradually inflate above your head. It will take a minute or two to reach full inflation.

As the bag is inflating, take deep breaths, exhaling fully, to purge as much CO2 as possible from the depths of your lungs.

When the bag is inflated and you’re ready, exhale as completely as possible and hold your lungs empty. Slide the bag down over your face and settle the elastic comfortably around your neck. Finally, inhale as deeply as possible; breathe slowly and deeply.
Thank you for this. Last night i was literally watching YouTube vids and contemplating making a bag. PPH mentions sleeping pills and alcohol to put you out. You'll just go while sleeping. It's very appealing.
 
Made4TV

Made4TV

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Sep 17, 2018
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Any compressed gas cylinder --flammable or non-flammable gas-- is a potential missile waiting to go off. Just damage that valve and you'll find out what pressurized inert gas can do. Will you get a fireball? No, of course not, but compressed gas cylinders can be very dangerous if they're not handled with due caution. The point of that part of my post is that the people selling you those cylinders need to know you're aware of the hazard. Flub that detail and you might be denied your N2.
YES. I used to care for someone on oxygen. One day I was carrying several tanks into a hotel room and one dropped onto the bed. It dropped onto the bed in such a way that it dislodged the valve. That thing became airborne and started spinning in a circle, parallel to the bed. I was trying to grab it and I kept fumbling it. Meanwhile I had oxygen shooting out at my face and eyes, burning me (just from the cold and the air, not anything chemical). It sucked. Took me a good 5 minutes to capture it and I'm just so thankful that it happened on an empty bed with nothing else around. I basically had to finally kind of throw my body on top of it to get it to stop being airborne. Apparently to the other person, it was hilarious because it blasted into my face multiple times as it spun and made me look like those people that aim hair dryers into their mouth and stuff and their mouth gapes open and cheeks puff out. That's apparently what it looked like. It was actually scary in the middle of it. And that was just a metal oxygen tank.
 
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T

TiredHorse

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One day I was carrying several tanks into a hotel room and one dropped onto the bed. It dropped onto the bed in such a way that it dislodged the valve.
Yikes! Yes, that's just the sort of incident people need to be cautious about.

Thank you, JohnnyTheFox; that's an excellent addition.
About 150 -160 in the uk for the filled cylinder, regulator and hose
Thank you! Do you have sources you can recommend? As I recall from another thread, you also had a good cover story for needing N2, too.
 
S

stargazer

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Nov 19, 2018
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@TiredHorse or anyone, what if lazily I just want to turn on a helium or nitrogen tank inside a car? In Australia? Thoughts please. I'm lazy yes and stupid
 
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Shewaitsforme

Shewaitsforme

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@TiredHorse or anyone, what if lazily I just want to turn on a helium or nitrogen tank inside a car? In Australia? Thoughts please. I'm lazy yes and stupid
Most things ive read is that people still use the bag even in a car using inert gas as for it to work the environment needs to be oxygen free, bit harder to purge a car of oxygen and leave enough to send you on your way.
 
Johnnythefox

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Shewaitsforme

Shewaitsforme

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In a way ... the pigs don't have to mess with a bag, someone does it for them ... fully automated, what a service !
I was just putting the point of painfull or not painfull across. It got up and put its head right back in to get the food over and over, no bag used.
 
T

TiredHorse

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@TiredHorse or anyone, what if lazily I just want to turn on a helium or nitrogen tank inside a car? In Australia? Thoughts please. I'm lazy yes and stupid
I agree with Shewaitsforme: you would have a difficult time reducing the available O2 in such a large, gas-permeable space. Technically yes, you could do it, but it would take a lot of N2 and careful preparation of the car.

Don't confuse inert gas asphyxiation (IGA) with CO poisoning. They work through completely different mechanisms.

With IGA you are displacing O2 from your environment, thus depriving your body of necessary O2, while flushing away the CO2 that would trigger your body's hypercapnic alarm and cause involuntary self-preservation. To effectively displace the O2, you need a controlled environment from which the O2 can first be flushed and then excluded. So first you need to get rid of all the air, then you need to keep out any further air, then you need to flush away your exhaled CO2. The smaller the space, and the more readily the space is sealed, the easier this is to accomplish.

When you put an exit bag over your head, you are creating a low-O2 environment. The CO2 is flushed away by the constant flow of inert gas, preventing alarm, and you are allowing your body to use up whatever O2 it has in its bloodstream while not providing it any more.

Short version: The O2 in your body runs out and isn't replaced.

With CO poisoning, you aren't displacing air/O2 from the environment; you are introducing into the environment a molecule (CO) which binds more readily to your blood than O2 does. You're providing your haemoglobin with an easier alternative than O2; your body grabs the CO and ignores the O2. Since your blood can only carry so many gas molecules at a time, with the CO taking up all the room in your bloodstream your body is starved of O2.

When you climb into your car with a barbecue that's putting out CO, there's still plenty of O2 in the car's environment. You're not excluding the O2 as you need to do with IGA --replacing the air with a completely different gas-- you're adding to the existing air a new substance (CO) that your body prefers to O2. This preferential-molecule process makes it much simpler to manage the environment on a large scale. You don't need to get rid of the O2, you just need to provide enough CO to take up all the space for O2 in your bloodstream.

Short version: The O2 available to your body is ignored in favor of CO.
 

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