Combustion Pollutants

This page last reviewed November 24, 2014

The major indoor combustion pollutants are carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), fine and ultrafine particles, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and formaldehyde. At elevated levels, carbon monoxide causes headaches, fatigue, queasiness, and at very high levels, brain and heart damage and death. Other combustion pollutants can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, and serious lung disease, including cancer and other health impacts. For example, exposure to smoke from cigarettes and wood burning has been linked to cardiovascular and respiratory disease. Additionally, cooking emissions, especially from gas stoves, have been associated with increased respiratory disease. Young children, people with asthma, and people with heart or lung disease are especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of combustion pollutants.

A California law requires that carbon monoxide detectors or alarms be installed in all dwellings that have any kind of fuel type appliance (gas, propane, etc.) or an attached garage. The CO detectors/alarms must be those approved by the California Office of the State Fire Marshal. For questions regarding the requirements of the law, please contact the State Housing Law Program at (916) 445-9471.

An Assembly Bill, AB 2386 Care Facilities: Carbon Monoxide Detectors, was signed by the Governor on September 20, 2014. The bill requires community care facilities; residential care facilities for the elderly; residential care facilities for persons with chronic, life-threatening illness; and day care centers and family day care homes to have one or more functioning carbon monoxide detectors that meet specified statutory requirements in the facility. For questions regarding the bill, please contact Michael Weston at the Department of Social Services' Public Affairs Office at (916) 657-2268.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Now Required in California Homes and Care Facilities

Learn More About Combustion Pollutants in Your Home

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