This page last reviewed April 29, 2013
The major indoor combustion pollutants are carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particles (PM10) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). 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. Smoke from cigarettes or wood burning contains a particularly toxic combination of many pollutants that can cause respiratory irritation and cancer. Young children, people with asthma, and people with heart or lung disease are especially vulnerable to the toxic effects of combustion pollutants. For more information on combustion pollutants see the links below.
A new California law requires that carbon monoxide detectors or alarms were to be installed by July 1, 2011 in all single family dwellings that have any kind of fuel type appliance (gas, propane, etc.) or an attached garage. All other dwellings with fuel appliances or an attached garage must have had such devices installed by January 1, 2013. 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. For a list of CO alarms and detectors approved by the State Fire Marshal's Office, please see the third link below.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors Now Required in California Homes
- Description of Carbon Monoxide Law Requirements
- State Fire Marshal Carbon Monoxide Information (search for "Carbon Monoxide")
- Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Alarms Approved by the State Fire Marshal
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010
Learn More About Carbon Monoxide and Combustion Pollutants in Your Home
- Indoor Poison: Carbon Monoxide - Video
- ARB Press Release on Carbon Monoxide
- U.S. EPA Information on Carbon Monoxide
- US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Carbon Monoxide Q & A
- Combustion Pollutants in Your Home - Guideline No. 2 (htm) or (PDF 8 MB)
- Combustion Pollutants in Your Home - Supplement to Guideline No. 2 (PDF 1 MB)
- Residential Cooking Exposure Study - Final Report