What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. Although it has no detectable odor, CO is often mixed with other gases that do have an odor. So, you can inhale carbon monoxide right along with gases that you can smell and not even know that CO is present.

CO is a common industrial hazard resulting from the incomplete burning of natural gas and any other material containing carbon such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal, or wood. Forges, blast furnaces and coke ovens produce CO, but one of the most common sources of exposure in the workplace is the internal combustion engine.


Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless gas that is produced by certain gas-powered appliances and engines. If a gas leak occurs, carbon monoxide can build up in certain areas. If a person is exposed to the gas for an extended period of time, he or she can suffer serious complications.