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Carbon Monoxide Exposure from Portable Generators



Steven J. Emmerich, Andrew K. Persily, Liangzhu Wang


Serious concerns exist about the hazard of acute residential carbon monoxide (CO) exposures from portable gasoline-powered generators, which can result in death or serious adverse health effects. As of April 23, 2013 and as shown in Figure 1, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) databases contain records of at least 800 deaths (involving 597 incidents) from CO poisoning caused by consumer use of a generator in the period of 1999 through 2012 (Hnatov 2013). Typically, these deaths occur when consumers use a generator in an enclosed or partially enclosed space or, less often, outdoors near a partially open door, window or vent. While avoiding the operation of such generators in or near a home is expected to reduce indoor CO exposures significantly, it may not be realistic to expect such usage to be eliminated completely.
ASHRAE Journal


carbon monoxide, indoor air quality, portable generator, residential


Emmerich, S. , Persily, A. and Wang, L. (2014), Carbon Monoxide Exposure from Portable Generators, ASHRAE Journal, [online], (Accessed April 20, 2024)
Created October 28, 2014, Updated February 19, 2017