Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless, colorless gas, which can cause sudden illness and death, is produced any time a fossil fuel is burned. CDC works with national, state, local, and other partners to raise awareness about CO poisoning and to monitor, evaluate, and present CO-related illness and death surveillance data in the U.S.

starting a generator placed in a driveway

Answers to commonly asked questions about CO

a battery in one hand, and a CO detector in the other

You CAN prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

CO can't be seen, smelled, or heard, but can be stopped.

Carbon monoxide factsheets, available in 9 languages

illustration of a family in a motorboat. The boat is moving forward, and the motor's exhaust is also moving forward (backdrafting) over the family.

Gasoline-powered engines on boats, including onboard generators, produce carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that can poison or kill someone who breathes too much of it.

Page last reviewed: January 3, 2020