Carbon monoxide (CO) is a product of the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels—including gasoline, diesel fuel, crude oil, and wood—and other natural and synthetic products.
Breathing in carbon monoxide can limit how much oxygen your blood can carry to critical organs, including the heart and brain. It is particularly dangerous indoors.
The main contributors of carbon monoxide emissions include vehicle exhaust, gas-powered furnaces, and portable generators. Sources of carbon monoxide in homes include gas stoves, leaking furnaces, car exhaust from attached garages, and space heaters.
Human health and environmental concerns
Breathing in carbon monoxide can limit how much oxygen your blood can carry to critical organs, including the heart and brain. People with certain types of heart disease are at higher risk of harm and may have chest pains during exercise or higher stress. Carbon monoxide is particularly dangerous indoors and may cause fatigue at low concentrations or impaired vision and nausea at higher concentrations.
Monitoring, reporting, and regulations
Carbon monoxide is one of six common air pollutants called criteria pollutants. Criteria pollutants are subject to primary and secondary National Ambient Air Quality Standards under the federal Clean Air Act. Primary standards define the air quality required to prevent adverse effects on human health; secondary standards are set to prevent adverse impacts on the environment.
Minnesota is currently in compliance with national standards for all six criteria pollutants.