Can Co2 Adversely Impact Your Health?

breathe fresh co2

What is C02 and Why is it Important?

Carbon dioxide is a chemical compound composed of one-part carbon and two parts oxygen symbolized by CO2. In short, Co2 meaning is carbon dioxide.  In spite of its current negative image as a pollutant that contributes to climate change, carbon dioxide is actually one of the most important gases on Earth because it plays a vital role for the survival of life itself. Plants use carbon dioxide to produce their own food in the form of glucose and starches through photosynthesis. Humans and animals on the other hand rely on plants for food. Moreover, oxygen which is a by-product of photosynthesis is in turn breathe by both human and animals in order to survive.

Additionally, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is also essential for our survival because it seizes the heat reflected or discharged from Earth’s surface to keep it sufficiently warm and habitable for living things included humans.

Sources of C02

There are plenty of sources for Co2 meaning carbon dioxide. The most basic and natural source is through respiration and decomposition of humans and animals that is when they live and when they die. When living, people and animals breathe in oxygen and in turn breathe out carbon dioxide. This process also occurs at the cellular level in which glucose and oxygen is combined to produce energy and carbon dioxide.  This source is the primary source of CO2 home or carbon dioxide in homes.  When dying on the other hand, animals and human decompose and carbon dioxide is released.

Other sources of carbon dioxide included the weathering of carbonate rocks (e.g. limestones) which is caused by geological changes or rain and the burning of fossil fuels. Wood, coal and petrol are hydrocarbon fuels which released carbon dioxide when burned. On the other hand, an indirect cause of carbon dioxide is deforestation because the less trees meant less pants to absorb carbon dioxide, which is then bequeathed in the atmosphere.

Effects of C02

Carbon dioxide is a pollutant and can adversely affect human health by displacing oxygen in the atmosphere. With carbon dioxide levels rise in the atmosphere, breathing becomes harder. This will initially result to headaches wooziness, restiveness, a sensation of tingling of pins, breathing difficulty, sweltering, fatigue, acceleration of heart rate, and increase in blood pressure. When lack of a person continues to lack oxygen, this will then lead to unconsciousness, convulsion, suffocation and death. Carbon dioxide is a pollutant and along with VOCs (volatile organic compounds) comprise indoor air pollution.

Aside from its direct harmful effect to human health, high levels of Co2 meaning carbon dioxide also have hostile effect on our environment which makes it less habitable and perilous to human life.  As a pollutant, carbon dioxide plays a central role in the greenhouse effect, which cause global warming. With more carbon dioxide trapping radiation at ground level, the earth and ocean waters become warmer. This rise in global temperature on the other hand is the main cause of climate change, which translates to dangerous calamities like stronger and more frequent typhoons, longer draughts, increase in sea levels and melting of the glaciers, that post serious threat to humanity.  Finally, another deadly impact of high CO2 levels which are also puts humanity at risk is acid rain. Carbon dioxide that combines with moisture in the air results to rains with high acid content, which damages plants and pollutes our soil.

Co2 at Homes, workplaces and Business

When it comes to carbon dioxide in homes, workplaces and business, it is associated with indoor air pollution or quality concerns. Co2 indoors such as in homes, classrooms, offices and buildings primarily comes from the people living or staying indoors who continuously breathe out approximately 2 pounds of Co2 a day. While this amount is relatively low, this can post danger when it accumulates from the Co2 releases by numerous people inside. This was especially true during the 1970s when building designers started to make buildings more airtight.  The lack of sufficient ventilation results to high levels of carbon dioxide causing people to feel ill while inside the premises which resulted to the term ‘sick building syndrome’.  This is typified by the “stale” ambiance you feel in a room. The high concentrations of Co2 indoors were primarily caused by the lack of ventilation. And because of this, the exposure of the people to carbon dioxide indoors resulted to a variety of health effects including headaches, wooziness, edginess, tingling sensation and tiredness among others. And because people have difficulty concentrating, they also tend to become less productive and even dumber in the performance of their works and other activities.

What are safe levels of CO and CO2 in rooms?

Normal concentration in outdoor atmosphere is 250-350 ppm (parts per million) However, air that contains around 400ppm of Co2 is still considered fresh. Typical concentrations of Co2 level for occupied Indoor rooms with proper ventilation is 350 ppm to 1000 ppm, which is still considered safe.  However, if Co2 levels reach 1500ppm and above, the room starts to feel musty and people inside will start to feel drowsy. In which case, carbon dioxide is a pollutant. Above 2000 ppm for indoor spaces can result to headaches, poor concentration and nausea for people occupying the room. When it is over 40,000 ppm and above, people exposed to such Co2 concentration can experience suffocation, coma or brain damage and death. Based on this, the ideal Co2 concentration for indoor spaces is less than 1000 ppm. Above 1000 ppm, people should make necessary action to ventilate the place with fresh air by opening windows, installing ventilation systems and other measures.  

In the case of outdoor ambiance, 350 ppm of Co2 concentration is considered safe. Accordingly, at this level, we still have a chance of stabilizing the mean temperature of the world.   However, a 450 ppm of Co2 concentration already constitutes a high risk, which means global warming will continue to persist at dangerous levels and disastrous effects is expected to transpire especially because the world’s energy balance because unstable and heat uptake of the oceans will create irrevocable effects.

How to monitor C02 at workplaces?

Because of its dangerous health impact to people, the need for monitoring CO2 levels inside indoor spaces such as homes and workplaces should be regularly conducted. Fortunately, Co2 monitoring can be performed using an inexpensive facility called Non-Dispersive Infra-Red technology (NDIR).  This technology uses CO2 sensor with a light filter and infra-red LED light. Gas disperses into a compartment amid the detector and LED light. And the quantity of CO2 contained in the compartment is directly proportionate to the quantity of absorbed light. Some Co2 monitors are integrated with an HVAC unit that automatically functions to regulate ventilation, temperature and humidity.

Benefits of reducing C02

Reducing carbon dioxide in homes or Co2 homes can help control air quality inside the room to make it more conducive for people living or staying inside. This would prevent the occurrence of ill effects associated with high Co2 pollution.  Cutting on Co2 pollution in general reduces the air pollution that is dangerous to human health.

In a macro perspective hover, reducing Co2 will in turn reduce greenhouse gases, which is inherently dangerous in making global temperature rise that makes the world less conducive for human living. More importantly, in preventing global warming, we can curtain or stop climate change, which threatens to potentially destroy humanity in the future.

Steps to reduce C02

There are simple steps in reducing Co2 levels in the air in order to prevent indoor or house pollution, which is ultimately affected by the presence of proper ventilation, people inside the confined space and the length of stay in the room. 

Among the basic ways to reduce carbon dioxide in homes is to install proper ventilation and filtration mechanisms. A ventilation system can be as simple as having opened or windows in the room that allows air to come in and out. It can also be as complex as installation an air conditioning system that included, fan, exhaust system, air purifiers and pollutant filters.  Another simply way to reduce Co2 home is by placing plants inside the room. Plants act as naturally air purifiers because they absorb Co2 and releases fresh oxygen into the atmosphere. The plants should ideally be placed however where it can receive sufficient sunlight which is also a chief ingredient for photosynthesis. Finally, a practical way of reducing Co2 concentrations inside a room is to simply to limit the number of people staying inside so that less Co2 is breathed out.

In an effort to reduce Co2 emissions to the atmosphere in general, every person as a stakeholder of the world should contribute their fair share in reducing their carbon footprints because carbon dioxide is a pollutant. This may include advocating for green sources of energy, advocating use of electric cars or minimizing use of fossil fueled cars but instead using public transport, making your house energy efficient by using LEDs, energy efficient appliances, telecommuting, patronizing local produce to minimize product transportations, and joining tree planting and other save the earth initiatives. While these steps may be small and have minor effect to reducing carbon, if everybody in the world does the same, these little steps could tote up to one big effort that will make a difference and save the world.

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