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Environmental Health Services

Automotive CO

About 80% of the CO in the ambient air is emitted by motor vehicles. The highest ambient CO levels occur during the cold winter months when temperature inversions trap CO emissions close to the ground. CO levels have dropped dramatically since the early 1980s when Anchorage recorded as many as 50 violations of the federal clean air standard per year. Levels today are less than half what they were two decades ago and Anchorage has not violated the standard since 1996. The EPA recently approved a new air quality plan, prepared by the Environmental Quality Program, that outlines how Anchorage will maintain compliance with the federal CO standard over the next 20 years. Anchorage is now considered in compliance with federal CO standards. The air quality plan focuses efforts on the control of the CO emissions that occur from vehicle cold starts. In some neighborhoods up to half of all CO emissions are produced by vehicles warming up after a cold start. Plugging in your vehicle's engine block heater can cut these emissions by about 60%.

CO inside homes and other enclosed spaces

If you feel you have CO poisoning, call 911.

If you have a CO alarm going off but feel no CO poisoning symptoms, call the Anchorage Fire Department at 267-4950.
If you have questions about CO alarms, call 343-4200.

Faulty heating devices or improper venting can result in very high levels inside homes or other enclosed spaces. Exposure to CO concentrations of 1,200 ppm or higher can result in serious injury or death. These concentrations are about 100 times higher than the highest levels currently experienced outdoors in Anchorage. Anchorage Municipal Code now requires carbon monoxide detectors with alarm functions to be installed in all Anchorage dwellings (AMC 23.85).

    • Environmental Health Services
    • Deputy Director: DeeAnn Fetko
    • 825 L Street, 3rd Floor, Anchorage, AK 99501
    • 907 343-6718