Skip Navigation
MDCH - Michigan Department of Community Health | MDCH Michigan Department of Community Health | MDCH
Michigan Department of Community Health | MDCH
Email this Page
Share this Link on Facebook
Tweet this page on Twitter!

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Every year in the United States, hundreds of people die of carbon monoxide poisoning and thousands more are hospitalized.

Carbon monoxide is a gas that is produced when fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas and oil are burned. In only minutes, deadly fumes can develop in enclosed spaces. When you breathe carbon monoxide, it enters the bloodstream and cuts off delivery of oxygen to the body's organs and tissues.

The first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may be headache, dizziness, confusion, fatigue, and nausea. As more of this gas is inhaled, it can cause unconsciousness, brain damage and even death. Read the information below to learn more about how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.


The fourth annual report provides data on the 765 individuals unintentionally poisoned by carbon monoxide in 2012, including 22 who died from the exposure.  The three leading causes of exposure were: faulty furnaces or water heaters (23%), vehicles (15%) and fire (15%).

The third annual report provides data on the 934 individuals unintentionally poisoned by carbon monoxide in 2011, including 22 who died from the exposure.  The three leading causes of exposure were: faulty furnaces or water heaters (23%%), generators (10.5%) and vehicles (10.3%).

The second annual report
 provides data on the 986 individuals unintentionally poisoned by carbon monoxide in 2010, including 26 who died from the exposure.  The three leading causes of exposure were: faulty furnaces or water heaters (26%), fires (10%), and power machinery misplacement (7%). 

The first annual report on carbon monoxide poisoning surveillance provides information about the 41 deaths and 1,050 non-fatal carbon monoxide poisonings that occurred in Michigan in 2009. More than 60 percent occurred during the winter months, and happened most frequently at home. About 11% happened at work.


Homes and Vehicles 

image of a house

Furnaces, cars, boats, kerosene heaters, charcoal grills, camp stoves, power washers, generators...anything that burns fuel produces carbon monoxide.  Learn how to stay safe at home and in your car by reading the information found below.

Fact Sheets
NEW!! Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention   

Facts About Carbon Monoxide 

  Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Your Home or Apartment 

  Carbon Monoxide Detectors In Your Home or Apartment 

  Carbon Monoxide and Tractors

  Carbon Monoxide Brochure 

For More Information 
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Carbon Monoxide Information in 16 Different Languages 
Watch this video from the California Air Resources Board.

Boats and Watercraft 

boat Carbon monoxide is found in the exhaust from cars and boats. One boat engine can produce the same amount of carbon monoxide as 180 cars. Check out the Boating and Carbon Monoxide information found below to find out how you can stay safe while enjoying summer boating.

Fact Sheet 
Boating and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 

For More Information 
Boat U.S.Foundation
The Risk of Carbon Monoxide 

 Camping and Outdoors 

tentBeing outdoors is a favorite pastime for many Michigan residents. You need to protect yourself and your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide given off by camping and other specialized equipment. The following fact sheets provide information on how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when you're enjoying the great outdoors.

Fact Sheets 
Camping and Carbon Monoxide 
Ice Fishing and Carbon Monoxide 

Portable Generators 
 gasoline-powered generator 
Portable generators are popular with homeowners, boaters and campers in Michigan. Generators are very convenient but they can also be very dangerous.  For more information, read the Generators and Carbon Monoxide fact sheet found below.

Fact Sheet 
Portable Generators and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Power Generators, Gas Grills and Charcoal Grills - Used Indoors- Can Cause Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 

Texas Department of State Health Services
Carbon Monoxide and Generators 

 In the Workplace 

forklift image There are many jobs where workers can be exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Fuel-powered equipment like power washers, compressors and cement saws can generate deadly levels of carbon monoxide. Fortunately, there are steps that you and your co-workers can take to keep yourself safe from carbon monoxide poisoning. Check out the workplace information found below.
Fact Sheets   
Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning at Work 
Carbon Monoxide and Power Tools and Equipment 

For More Information 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OSHA Fact Sheet 
Michigan State University Occupational & Environmental Medicine: MIFACE
CO: What You Cannot Smell Can Kill You 
Washington State Department of Labor and Industries
Sources of Carbon Monoxide in the Workplace 

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Carbon Monoxide Hazards from Small Gasoline Powered Engines 



Copyright © 2015 State of Michigan