How bad something smells does not tell you how toxic it is or whether it can affect your health. Some people have physical health symptoms even when an odor in the area is below a harmful level. Living with odors can be stressful. You can keep a log, report bad odors, and take action to reduce your exposure.

Girl pinching her nose from a bad odor.

Odor regulations

Colorado regulations limit how strong odors coming from certain types of agriculture and industry can be. Inspectors can record how strong an odor is, but only if they are in the right place at the right time.

Reporting bad odors

You can report bad odors. Before you do, it helps to record your observations. This will help identify possible sources. Report odors to the correct authority:

Oil and gas
Lakes, rivers, and streams
  • Contact the water body manager.
Drinking water
Other odors

Reduce your exposure to odors

  • If odors are coming from outside, closing windows and doors can help. 
  • Use an indoor air filter.
    • Avoid ozone-producing filters.
    • Activated carbon filters can reduce some odors, such as those from volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • Increase outdoor air flow when cooking, painting, or using chemicals indoors.
  • More information: EPA Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home.


For information about lead and your health, contact ToxCall at 303-692-2606 or cdphe_toxcall@state.co.us