Carbon monoxide (CO)

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas fromed from incomplete fossil fuel combustion. CO is toxic to all humans and animals, and is the most commonly inhaled poisonous substance.

The major source of carbon monoxide is idling automobiles in lcosed areas. Other sources include gas applicances, blocked fireplaces, charcoal grills and smoking.

What Can We Do?

  • Reduce the amount of idling of vehicles (warming up time, and use of car starters)
  • Use alternative transportation (walk, bike, car pool or use public transportation)
  • Use oxygenated gasolines (Ethanol blended gasolines)
  • Set your home furnace to a lower temperature, wear sweaters during the winter
  • Reduce any drafts in home, or building, during winter months
  • Utilize “Green Power” (eg: wind generated and solar)
  • Promote use of hydrogen fuel cell technology, solar powered vehicles, and electrical powered vehicles.

Alberta Guidelines

  • The 1-hour Average Alberta Ambient Air Quality Guideline is 13.0 ppm averaged over a one-hour period
  • Currently, there are no 24-hour, or Annual Average Alberta Ambient Air Quality Guidelines

Table of Human Symptoms and Other Effects

Concentration (ppm) Exposure Time Human Symptoms and other Effects
12,800 1-3 minutes Death
6400 1-2 minutes Headache, dizziness and nausea. Death within 25-30 minutes.
3200 5-10 minutes Headache, dizziness and nausea - death within 1 hour
1600 20 minutes Headache, dizziness and nausea. Death within 1 hour.
800 45 minutes Dizziness, nausea and convulsions - unconscious within 2 hours and dead within 2 to 3 hours
400 1-2 hours Serious headache - other symptoms intensify and life threatening after 3 hours
200 2-3 hours Mild headache, fatigue, nausea and dizziness
50 - Maximum exposure allowed (OSHA) in the workplace.
25 8 hour limit Maximum exposure in the workplace (Time Weighted Average)
13 1 hour Alberta ambient air quality guideline
9 - Maximum allowable concentration short term in living area (ASHRAE)
5 8 hour Alberta ambient air quality guideline for 8 hours
0 - 1 - Normal background levels

Get Involved

As an airshed, educating about air quality is an essential part of what we do. It is important to us as an organization to inform through not only sharing air quality data but also providing tips on how we can all do our part to reduce air pollution and serve as environmental stewards at an individual level.

Learn more