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Is too much CO2 in the air toxic?

Is too much CO2 in the air toxic?


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I know that if there is too much CO2 in the air we will have too much greenhouse effect.

I would like to know if there is too much CO2 in the room, something like 3% while there is also more that adequate oxygen for us to breath. will we live or die? why?


CO2 forms carbonic acid in water, which helps to dissolve rocks and mountains in envitonmental science. It would slightly acidify your body with what is called a weak acid.

5% can cause acidosis and loss of conciousness, without lack of oxygen.

3% would devastate most chalk based sealife, corals and shells.

Perhaps lifelong breathing of 3% co2 would have serious effect on alkaline processes in the body, osteoporosis, and would have to be counterbalanced by the body to maintain its blood ph above 7.35, with alkaline chemicals like sodium.

Also check out this fact sheet.


First, the toxicity of any substance is a matter of dose. So the answer of your question is yes too much is toxic but the real question is how much is too much ?

This is still not clear in the litterature but effect are starting to appear over 3% see:

HAYWOOD C., BLOETE M.E. - Respiratory responses of healthy young women to carbon dioxide inhalation. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1969, 27, pp. 32-35.

OR

ALEXANDER J.K.,WEST J.R.,WOOD J.A., RICHARD D.W. - Analysis of the res- piratory response to carbon dioxide inhalation in varying clinical states of hypercapnia, anoxia and acide-base derangement. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 1995, 34, pp. 511-532.

CO2 is the result of respiration as you know and a too high concentration in the blood result in a change a Ph of your blood and asphyxia. You can find more information on those effect here Permentier and al.

Hope this helps !


Carbon Dioxide Deaths

Claim: An eruption of carbon dioxide from a lake killed hundreds of people.

Status: True.

Origins: Carbon dioxide is a substance we generally associate with the happy little bubbles that enliven our favorite brands of soda and beer. We are not accustomed to thinking of it as dangerous, as most of our interactions with it are innocuous. Moreover, memories of high school biology remind us that while we breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide, plants operate in the opposite fashion by soaking up carbon dioxide and exuding oxygen, making for an efficient symbiotic relationship between people and plants. Carbon dioxide is a natural part of the world around us, ergo, we don’t view it with the same level of apprehension with which we regard manmade compounds.

Yet carbon dioxide is also a deadly gas. Countless miners laboring underground have forfeited their lives to “choke damp,” the term for the oxidizing of carbon trapped within coal. When this process takes place in an enclosed space (such as the depths of a mine), the resulting carbon

dioxide cannot dissipate and forms an invisible deadly cloud. Accounts given by people who witnessed choke damp in action described deaths that came so quickly the victims had no chance to escape. One person, recounting the fate of eight men and one woman who walked into an area where the gas had accumulated, said they “fell down dead, as if they had been shot.” Another narrative of a different death said the stricken miner was “without access to cry but once ‘God’s mercy.'”

Miners not only walked into deadly accumulations of choke damp they were also sometimes lowered into them by being let down into mine shafts on ropes. If they hit pockets of carbon dioxide during their descents, they would fall from those ropes dead.

While keeping caged canaries or rats in a mine would signal the presence of “white damp” (carbon monoxide) before it became lethal to humans, animal warning systems were of little use against “fire damp” (methane) and “choke damp” (carbon dioxide), the former because its danger only came to fruition if it came into contact with open flame (such as a candle or lamp), and the latter because it killed so quickly as to make such warnings useless. (Carbon monoxide is the gas utilized by those who commit suicide by piping exhaust fumes back into their cars or running automobile engines while parked in closed garages. Methane, sometimes known as “swamp gas” or “marsh gas,” is the major constituent of natural

Persons not employed in the coal mining trade are unlikely to encounter deadly masses of carbon dioxide, yet such clouds have been known to form in the open air and at a cost dear in human life. Which was indeed the case on 1986 at Lake Nyos in Cameroon.

Carbon dioxide naturally seeps from geothermal sources below that body of water and dissolves under pressure in the cold layer at the bottom of the lake. The water serves to hold the carbon dioxide in place, and over time the lake becomes infused with the compound. Once the saturation point is achieved (when the water can absorb no more carbon dioxide), the lake turns deadly.

On the fateful night of 1986, the deep waters of the lake either reached their carbon dioxide saturation point or something happened to disturb the layer lurking at the bottom of the lake (such as a rockslide), and without warning the lake “turned over,” its bottom layer shooting to the surface in a violent, frothy eruption of carbonated water that flew some into the sky. The lake waters turned red as dissolved iron was sucked up to the surface by the turmoil.

An estimated 100 million cubic metres of gas emerged from the lake in that explosion, quickly sweeping over the valleys surrounding Lake Nyos and, being denser than air, sinking to suffocate the inhabitants below.

Death came quickly. One man living just two hours on foot from the lake said, “We heard a noise, just like a gunshot.” He immediately checked on his two young daughters, and found them already dead in their beds.

A total of 1,746 people were smothered in the night, according to the official casualty toll. The deadly cloud covered an area of up to around the lake, killing thousands of cattle as well.

A similar incident in 1984 at Lake Monoun, another crater lake in western Cameroon, killed

Volcanic gases are not usually so toxic. Carbon dioxide is being vented elsewhere in the region, but because it seeps from the ground, it releases directly into the air and so poses little danger unless one is a frog or small rabbit that wanders too close to such discharges. At Lake Nyos, the gas was released suddenly, at a single site, and remained highly concentrated.

In the wake of the tragedy, a number of plans have been proposed to ensure Lake Nyos never erupts again. Pipes have been sunk into the lake to draw off the carbon dioxide as it accumulates on the lake bed.

Concern over carbon dioxide emissions from coal (which is burned to power electrical generation plants) has prompted a proposal to pipe the gas into the North Sea, thereby burying it in the ocean. Carbon dioxide capture and storage (known as CCS) plans are controversial, with those on the one side saying it’s the best way to rid ourselves of the gases that are causing global warming, and those on the other fretting over the potential for danger both to human life and the environment.


What happens when you breathe?

Your body uses oxygen to create the energy you need to live. When you breathe air into your lungs, the oxygen in it sticks to your red blood cells. This way, it reaches your organs and muscles.

Through a complex process called cellular respiration, oxygen goes through a series of chemical reactions in order to form energy, CO2, and water vapour. Using that energy, your heart can pump, your brain can think, and your muscles can contract. Meanwhile, the CO2 and water vapour are released back into the environment.


The ocean keeps sucking a colossal amount of CO2 from the air, but will it last?

The ocean has proved to be an exceptionally selfless and dependable planetary companion.

At great cost to itself, Earth's vast sea has gulped up around 30 percent of the carbon dioxide humans emitted into Earth's atmosphere over the last century. Critically, scientists have now confirmed that the ocean has continued its steadfast rate of CO2 absorption in recent decades, rather than letting the potent greenhouse gas further saturate the skies.

The research, published Thursday in the journal Science, found that between 1994 and 2007, the oceans reliably sucked up about 31 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by humans, even as CO2 concentrations skyrocketed to their highest levels in at least 800,000 years. This means the ocean is now absorbing a significantly larger bulk of carbon, amounting to well over 2 trillion tons each year.

"We can regard what the ocean is doing for us as providing a service, by mitigating CO2 in the atmosphere," said Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research who had no role in the study.

But a weighty question still looms: How much longer can we rely on the ocean to so effectively store away carbon dioxide, and stave off considerably more global warming?

"At some point the ability of the ocean to absorb carbon will start to diminish," said Jeremy Mathis, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) climate scientist who coauthored the study. "It means atmospheric CO2 levels could go up faster than they already are."

"That's a big deal," Mathis emphasized.

That's because carbon dioxide levels aren't just abnormally high, but today's accelerated pace of heat and carbon dioxide rise is nearly unparalleled on Earth. "What’s important to recognize is the changes humanity is driving at present are commensurate with the most significant events in the history of life on this planet," said Long. That means — as long as we continue emitting profound amounts of heat-trapping gases — we'll need the ocean to keep absorbing massive quantities of CO2, so the planet doesn't grow absurdly hot.

Fortunately, there's still time. For the next 50 years or so, the oceans will likely continue to absorb about the same amount of carbon dioxide.

"[The ocean's] going to continue to help suck up CO2," said Josh Willis, an oceanographer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who had no role in the research. "It's like it's eating at a really big buffet, really slowly," he explained. "It’ll keep going to the buffet for a long time."

That's good news for us, a species whose carbon emissions likely won't even peak for another decade.

But it's terrible news for the ocean.

"The ocean will keep cleaning up some of our mess, but it does that at a price to itself," said Willis.

As they say, nice guys finish last.

The ocean grows more acidic as it sucks up CO2. "Every additional bit of CO2 the ocean takes up protects us from the worst of climate change but does damage to plants and animals in the ocean," said Curtis Deutsch, a chemical oceanographer at the University of Washington, who also had no involvement in the study.

"The ocean will keep cleaning up some of our mess, but it does that at a price to itself"

Just how much damage? That's a hot area of research. Increasingly acidic waters are expected to dissolve the skeletons of big swaths of coral, for instance. But it's not just acidified waters that critters must worry about. The oceans also absorb about 93 percent of human-created heat on Earth, which boosts the odds of deadly marine heat waves — the type that killed 30 percent of corals in the Great Barrier Reef over nine months. What's more, warmer waters have resulted in the loss of oxygen in the seas, which much sea life needs to survive. That's a triple-whammy of potent environmental threats. "We expect this to have substantial impacts on marine ecosystems," said Long.

During the second half of this century, though, the story will change. Marine researchers still expect the oceans to gulp considerable loads of carbon dioxide, but this ability may gradually start to diminish, noted Long. That's because ocean circulation — in which deeper, colder waters rise to the surface and replace warmer ocean waters — will be reduced. In short, water near the surface will have absorbed the most heat (as the world warms) and create a layer of buoyant sea. This makes it increasingly difficult for fresh waters from the deep — which aren't yet oversaturated with carbon — to circulate to the surface and absorb lots more CO2 from the air, Long explained.

These changes, along with ocean acidification, won't be easily reversed. "We’re essentially baking in changes that will be very long-lived," said Long.

But scientists don't expect any extreme or catastrophic disruptions to the ocean's carbon uptake anytime in the next century, at least. "The ocean would basically have to stop circulating," said Deutsch. "And that's just not feasible."

Still, marine scientists emphasize that we must continue monitoring the oceans to ensure the ocean is as dependable as we think it is, and critically, to watch for any unexpected changes amid Earth's rapidly changing climate. This is no simple task. Collecting this ocean data often involves six to eight-week-long research missions across vast lengths of sea (like Alaska to Hawaii), wherein scientists collect water samples every 10 miles. "It's timely and fairly expensive," said Mathis. "But we have to continue to invest in the science that allows us to go out and do these surveys."

"Otherwise we’re just flying blind — we just don't understand," added Long.

Although the oceans have undoubtedly quelled a significant amount of warming over the last century, they can't ever be humanity's total climate savior. There will just be too much carbon dioxide saturating the air, too much for the seas to handle. The ocean won't stave off radical climate disruption, deadly heat waves, and ruinous damage to crops. In other words, it wouldn't be good if we ever reach a point where the climate has overloaded the oceans with CO2 and heat. But we would already be in big trouble.


Other Causes of High Carbon Dioxide Levels

A number of factors may cause high carbon dioxide levels. If your levels are outside of the normal range, it may not necessarily mean there is something wrong. However, a normal level also doesn&rsquot mean a particular medical condition is absent. Always talk with your doctor to learn more about your test results.

Metabolic Alkalosis

CO2 levels are closely tied to the pH of the blood. This is because most of the CO2 in the body is in the form of HCO3- (bicarbonate), which plays an important role in maintaining blood pH [8, 9].

Metabolic alkalosis occurs when blood pH increases above 7.45, becoming too basic. During metabolic alkalosis, the body naturally compensates by slowing its breathing rate, causing a buildup of CO2 in the blood [10, 11].

Some causes of metabolic alkalosis include [10, 11]:

  • Dehydration
  • Vomiting
  • Medications, like diuretics that increase urination of hydrogen ions
  • Kidney issues that reduce the urination of HCO3-
  • Taking too many antacids

Respiratory Acidosis

CO2 that is produced by the body&rsquos metabolism is eventually exhaled out of the body through the lungs. Conditions that slow or block the body&rsquos ability to breathe can cause a buildup of CO2 in the blood, which is referred to as respiratory acidosis or hypercapnia [12, 1].

Any condition that disrupts the ability to breathe can cause respiratory acidosis. Some common examples include [12, 1]:

Symptoms of respiratory acidosis can vary depending on the underlying cause and may include [12, 1]:

Check out our article on respiratory acidosis for a complete breakdown of this condition.

Medications

Several drugs can cause an increase in CO2 levels.

Diuretics like furosemide can disturb the balance of electrolytes in the body, leading to higher HCO3- and CO2 levels [13].

Taking an excessive amount of antacids containing calcium can cause calcium levels and blood pH to increase. Both of these factors can elevate HCO3- levels, leading to metabolic alkalosis and an increase in CO2 [10, 11].

Sodium bicarbonate is sometimes used in the hospital to treat certain conditions, like overdoses and high potassium levels (hyperkalemia). Sodium bicarbonate directly increases HCO3- levels, which can lead to alkalosis and elevated CO2 [10, 11].

Certain corticosteroids, such as dexamethasone and triamcinolone, can change how the kidneys reabsorb electrolytes, which also leads to higher HCO3- levels [14, 15].

Environmental Factors

Since the start of the industrial revolution in the 18th century, global carbon dioxide levels have almost doubled. Today, certain areas in the world have very high CO2 levels in the air, due to several factors like pollution, deforestation, and emissions from burning fossil fuels [16].

One recent study of 13,000 cities across the world found that the cities with the highest CO2 emissions include Seoul, South Korea Guangzhou, China and New York City, U.S. The use of fossil fuels by vehicles and industrial plants plays a major role in CO2 levels in all of these cities [17].

Research shows that a combination of high CO2, pollution, and climate change has serious effects on human health, such as increasing the risk of lung disorders, infectious diseases, birth defects, and death in general [18, 19].


A Few Interesting Facts About Carbon Dioxide

It is interesting to note the CO2 content in stack gases and the air is enough to make the recovery of carbon dioxide commercially possible. The process of producing carbon dioxide on a commercial scale requires that it be purified and recovered via a very high-volume carbon dioxide-rich gas stream. This steam is usually created as an offshoot of an industrial-scale chemical production process.

Furthermore, Carbon dioxide derived from both industrial and natural sources is usually used in the production of oil from wells by transferring carbon dioxide into certain underground formations.

It should also be noted that carbon dioxide will not support combustion as air containing 10% of CO2 will quench an open flame. Also, when it is breathed in, it can pose a threat to life. Such types of concentration can be built up in digestion chambers, silos, wells, sewers and so on. Great restraint must, however, be taken when entering such places.


Indoor carbon dioxide levels could be a health hazard, scientists warn

Indoor levels of carbon dioxide could be clouding our thinking and may even pose a wider danger to human health, researchers say.

While air pollutants such as tiny particles and nitrogen oxides have been the subject of much research, there have been far fewer studies looking into the health impact of CO2.

However, the authors of the latest study – which reviews current evidence on the issue – say there is a growing body of research suggesting levels of CO2 that can be found in bedrooms, classrooms and offices might have harmful effects on the body, including affecting cognitive performance.

“There is enough evidence to be concerned, not enough to be alarmed. But there is no time to waste,” said Dr Michael Hernke, a co-author of the study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, stressing further research was needed.

Writing in the journal Nature Sustainability, Hernke and colleagues report that they considered 18 studies of the levels of CO2 humans are exposed to, as well as its health impacts on both humans and animals.

Traditionally, the team say, it had been thought that CO2 levels would need to reach a very high concentration of at least 5,000 parts per million (ppm) before they would affect human health. But a growing body of research suggests CO2 levels as low as 1,000ppm could cause health problems, even if exposure only lasts for a few hours.

The team say crowded or poorly ventilated classrooms, office environments and bedrooms have all been found to have levels of CO2 that exceed 1,000ppm, and are spaces that people often remain in for many hours at a time. Air-conditioned trains and planes have also been found to exceed 1,000ppm.

“Indoor environments are of much more concern presently and for many people that is where they spend 60-80% of their time,” said Hernke, although projections suggest by 2100 some large cities might reach outdoor CO2 levels of 1,000ppm for parts of the year.

The team found a number of studies have looked at the impact of such levels on human cognitive performance and productivity. In one study of 24 employees, cognitive scores were 50% lower when the participants were exposed to 1,400ppm of CO2 compared with 550ppm during a working day.

The team additionally looked at the impact of CO2 levels on animals, finding that a few hours’ exposure to 2,000 ppm was linked to inflammatory responses that could lead to damage to blood vessels. There is also tentative evidence suggesting that prolonged exposure to levels between 2,000 and 3,000ppm is linked to effects including stress, kidney calcification and bone demineralisation.

The team add that rising outdoor levels of CO2 will mean rising indoor levels – a situation that could be exacerbated by greater use of certain air-conditioning units, people spending more time inside, energy-saving building techniques, and increasing urbanisation.

Any health impacts, they add, might be particularly problematic for children or those with health conditions that might exacerbate the effects. And even if the impacts are reversible, said Hernke, it would depend on people being able to access air with low levels of CO2. “The question is what happens over the very long term when you are unable to go outside and, as it were, have that carbon sucked back out of you?”

Dr Gary Fuller, an air pollution scientist at King’s College London, said his team had been measuring CO2 levels in London for the past decade. While levels rarely reached 1,000ppm, he said, they often exceeded 750ppm along busy roads. “Unless we decarbonise heating and transport then these peaks will worsen as the global background increases,” he said.


A sponge to soak up carbon dioxide in the air

Human activity is now leading to the equivalent of 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere each year, putting us on track to increase the planet’s temperature by 1.5 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels by 2040. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), we must limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius to avoid the most dangerous impacts of climate change.

Increasingly, scientists are recognizing that negative emissions technologies (NETs) to remove and sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere will be an essential component in the strategy to mitigate climate change. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), a multidisciplinary Department of Energy research lab, is pursuing a portfolio of negative emissions technologies and related research. These range from geological and terrestrial sequestration, to conversion to bioproducts, to thermal reactors for hydrogen fuels.

A promising technology under development for NETs is carbon capture using a material called a MOF, or metal-organic framework. Jeffrey Long, a senior scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and also a professor in UC Berkeley’s College of Chemistry, has been working with this unique material for a number of years.

Q. What is a MOF and what role can it play in reducing CO2 emissions?

Professor Jeffrey Long photographed at UC Berkeley. (Photo courtesy of Professor Long)

A MOF, or metal-organic framework, is a type of solid material that is highly porous and behaves like a sponge, capable of soaking up vast quantities of a specific gas molecule, such as carbon dioxide. They’ve been around about 20 years, and there’s been an explosion in research over the last decade as scientists are finding more and more practical applications. What’s distinctive about MOFs is that they have extremely high internal surface areas. Just one gram of a MOF, an amount similar to a cube of sugar, can have a surface area greater than a football field. Consequently, if designed properly, a small amount of MOF can remove an enormous amount of CO2 from the exhaust gas produced by fossil fuel combustion.

We made a serendipitous discovery a few years ago that certain MOFs can capture carbon dioxide through an unprecedented switch-like mechanism. We further optimized the material for efficient removal of CO2 from a power plant flue before the gas enters the atmosphere. We showed that the capture and release of carbon dioxide from the MOF could be accomplished using much smaller temperature changes than required for other technologies, giving it a big advantage over conventional ways to capture CO2. (The adsorbed CO2 can then be utilized in other products.) This strategy eliminates the need to divert high-value, high-temperature steam away from power production, avoiding a large increase in the cost of electricity. In the course of these efforts, we also showed that variants of the MOFs could be efficient for the removal of CO2 from other gas mixtures, including biogas, natural gas, and even directly from air.

For direct air capture, MOFs are the best way we have of doing it that I see. For the carbon capture part of BECCS (or bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, an emerging negative emissions technology), where you’re essentially growing trees or crops, combusting them for fuel, then capturing and sequestering that CO2, I think MOFs could also do the capture part better than any other material.

Q. That sounds very promising. What is the status of this technology now? Is it being used commercially?

A startup company called Mosaic Materials (in which I have a financial interest) was formed in 2014 to pursue commercial production of MOFs for various CO2 separation processes. At Berkeley Lab we’re leading a project funded through the National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) in which we are working with Mosaic Materials and a Canadian engineering company called Svante to carry out a pilot demonstration for a coal-fired power plant flue gas.

Here, use of the MOF in a unique rotating bed system can achieve quick capture-release cycle times and reduced energy consumption. Ultimately, it is envisioned that widespread commercial deployment of such technology could result in a dramatic reduction in the cost and energy associated with carbon capture, as it necessarily becomes implemented across the globe.

Elsewhere, MOFs are in commercial use for the safe storage of other hazardous gases. For CO2capture, I’d say they are now close to being ready for commercial deployment.

Q. If that is the case, then what further research on MOFs is needed?

We need to lower the cost of direct air capture dramatically. It’s very expensive to do now. There are companies already doing it – they build units with fans blowing air through devices containing porous materials – but the materials in use are not very effective, making the units extremely expensive to operate. The cost of removing CO2 with such a technology is currently on the order of $500 to $1,000 per ton. We need to devise higher performance materials to help get the cost down below $100 per ton.

The main issue behind this high cost is the amount of energy required for regenerating the adsorbent – that is, for releasing the CO2 in pure form so the material can then be used again to capture more CO2. Here, we think the cooperative adsorption mechanism accessible in MOFs could significantly reduce the heat and vacuum requirements for regeneration.

Another consideration, though, is the energy required for blowing air. If you have a stream of air coming in that’s 410 parts per million CO2, one of the difficulties is that most materials might remove a small amount of that and lower the CO2 concentration to, say, 300 ppm, capturing 25% of the CO2. That’s what’s called the capture rate. And then to capture more, you have to basically flow more air through the material to fill it up.

But with a capture rate of, say, 90% you could lower the CO2 concentration to 40 parts per million with a single pass. That means you’re blowing a lot less air for removing the CO2 and therefore saving energy.

One of our research goals is to develop materials that have a high capacity, a high capture rate, fast kinetics for CO2 adsorption, and a low regeneration temperature, while also limiting the co-adsorption of water so that you’re not wasting energy on its desorption if you don’t need to. The kinetics means how quickly the CO2 is taken up by the material.

I think there’s a path to getting to below $100 per ton of CO2 removed from air. There’s still a lot of research needed to get there. We need to really rethink some of the ways the materials are designed and understand how to manipulate things like delta-S (entropy) for CO2 adsorption, so that less heat is required for CO2 release.


Respiratory Effects

Carbon dioxide is known as an asphyxiant, which is a substance that bonds with your blood in place of oxygen. The website eMedMag.com notes that while most simple asphyxiants do not have any inherent toxicity of their own, cases of CO2 poisoning have been linked to central nervous system damage and permanent deterioration of respiratory functions. Because of these findings, CO2 is considered not just a simple asphyxiant, but a gas with acute systemic effects as well.


What Are the Effects of CO2 on the Human Body?

CO2 is not poisonous as a gas, CO2 itself will not hurt you. This is an important fact to remember, as carbon dioxide is a vital part of the environment. The human breathing mechanism actual revolves around CO2, not oxygen. Without carbon dioxide, humans wouldn't be able to breathe. It’s only when CO2 gets concentrated do you have to worry.

Carbon dioxide acts as a simple asphyxiant in other words, as CO2 levels in a closed room rise, carbon dioxide replaces the oxygen your body needs. When your body can’t get oxygen, it slows down and does not function properly.

Because carbon dioxide is an asphyxiant, it mostly affects your brain. At moderate CO2 levels, around 1000 ppm, there are observable effects on your thinking. These same levels also reduce concentration and focus, as well as create discomfort from breathing stuffy air. Overall, moderate levels of CO2, which are very common in office meeting rooms, schools, and even your home, won’t let your body function optimally.

At higher levels, around 2500 ppm, there are significant reductions in cognitive functioning, especially for tasks that require higher-level thinking. People feel fatigued and report having more headaches. These conditions are less common but can still occur regularly in schools and poorly ventilated buildings. The chart below summarizes a study that shows how CO2 affects your brain functioning.

CO2 Concentration Health Effects
<1000 ppm Limited or no health effects
1000 ppm-2500 ppm Fatigue, loss of focus and concentration, uncomfortable ‘stuffy’ feeling in the air
2500 ppm-5000 ppm Headache, drowsiness, tiredness
5000 ppm-40000 ppm Violates OSHA requirements, severe headaches, slight intoxication depending on the exposure time
40000 ppm-100000 ppm IDLH (Immediately dangerous to life or health), dizziness, increased heart rate, sweating, difficulty breathing seizures and loss of consciousness after prolonged exposure
>100000 ppm Loss of consciousness within minutes, coma, risk of death

If CO2 levels get severe (>50,000 ppm), it can also cause you to lose consciousness. If this occurs for long enough, death is a possibility. However, these conditions are unrealistic you would only encounter these conditions in exceptional circumstances, such as a leaky basement over an abandoned coal mine.

While these conditions are rare, even moderate CO2 levels (over 1000 ppm) can directly impact you, draining your concentration and energy levels. If you think you may be experiencing these symptoms, be sure to let in some fresh air by opening the windows, or you can try stepping outside for a few minutes to clear your head. The best thing you can do to prevent CO2 from building up too high is ventilating!

For more information on the sources of carbon dioxide, the effects of CO2 on human health, and what you should do if your CO2 levels get to high, check out our guide below!