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U.S. carbon monoxide emissions 1970-2019

Carbon monoxide (CO) emissions in the United States amounted to 64.2 million tons in 2019. This was a considerable decline when compared to the 204 million tons of CO emitted in 1970.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas that is both odorless and colorless. It is released from the combustion of fuels such as coal, oil, and gas. It is one of the main air pollutants in the atmosphere and is harmful to human health. When breathed in, CO reduces the amount of oxygen in blood, depriving the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen. This can lead to nausea, headaches, dizziness, and at extremely high concentrations, death. Carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for hundreds of unintentional deaths every year in the U.S., though this is typically from indoor leaks.

Sources of carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide can be released by numerous sources. These can include gas stoves, tobacco smoke or leaking furnaces. However, anthropogenic releases of carbon monoxide are chiefly from vehicle emissions. Prior to the 1970’s, carbon monoxide emissions from transportation resulted in cities around the country exposed to high concentrations of this harmful pollutant. As the years went by, improved technology such as automotive catalysts, as well as clean air acts, helped to decrease CO emissions in the U.S.

Volume of carbon monoxide emissions in the U.S. from 1970 to 2019

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Source

Release date

April 2020

Region

United States

Survey time period

1970 to 2019

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