Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that has no odor or color. But it is very dangerous. It can cause sudden illness and death. CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those made by cars and trucks, lanterns, stoves, gas ranges and heating systems. CO from these fumes can build up in places that don't have a good flow of fresh air. You can be poisoned by breathing them in. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are
- Chest pain
It is often hard to tell if someone has CO poisoning, because the symptoms may be like those of other illnesses. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms. A CO detector can warn you if you have high levels of CO in your home.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- "Invisible" Killer (Consumer Product Safety Commission) - PDF
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) (Environmental Protection Agency, Indoor Environments Division)
- Carbon Monoxide Information Center (Consumer Product Safety Commission)
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Carbon Monoxide Safety (United States Fire Administration)
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- Carbon Monoxide Hazards from Small Gasoline Powered Engines (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (American Red Cross) - PDF
- CPSC Warns of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning with Camping Equipment (Consumer Product Safety Commission) - PDF
- When Your Furnace Kicks On, Be Sure Poison Gas Isn't Coming Out (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- Tox Town (National Library of Medicine)
Videos and Tutorials
- Quiet Killer (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- ClinicalTrials.gov: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (National Institutes of Health)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Trends and characteristics of cases when serial carboxyhemoglobins are obtained.
- Article: Racial and ethnic trends in unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning deaths.
- Article: An unusual incident: carbon monoxide poisoning risk in 540 homes due...
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Protecting Children from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (American Academy of Pediatrics)
- Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Information for Older Adults and Their Caregivers (Environmental Protection Agency) - PDF