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Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

What Is Carbon Dioxide (CO2)?

Carbon dioxide, also known as CO2, is a colorless continuously released through naturally occurring events as well as manmade activities.

Outdoor sources: The primary outdoor source of CO2 comes from burning fossil fuels, such as coal. Other events that contribute to CO2 emissions include forest fires, volcanic eruptions, and motor vehicle pollution. An indirect reason of increasing levels of CO2 is deforestation. When trees die and decompose, CO2 is released.

Indoor sources: CO2 levels are generally higher inside (compared to outdoors), as building occupants produce CO2 when they exhale. Indoor combustion appliances, in particular, gas stoves, generators, and other gasoline powered equipment contribute to CO2 levels.

Health Effects Of CO2

In extreme cases, exposure to CO2 can cause dizziness, headaches followed by vomiting, disorientation, and loss of consciousness. At more moderate levels, CO2 exposure often reduces productivity and brings down the energy level in your body.

A new study from the Harvard School of Public Health finds that carbon dioxide (CO2) has a direct and negative impact on human cognition and decision-making. Exposure has been found to decrease information utilization, increase headaches, decrease performance, and increase rates of absenteeism in classrooms. Elevated levels can lead to that feeling of lethargy and tiredness often associated with office workers.


Protecting Yourself From CO2 Exposure Indoors

The most effective way of reducing CO2 emission indoors is by identifying and controlling the emission source. Simple protective measures include:

  • Installing smoke fans — Cooking emits a large amount of CO2, especially in homes where gas stoves are used. Installing smoke fans in your kitchen will drive the CO2 outside the house.
  • Ventilating your home — Ventilating your home will help control CO2 levels by preventing indoor air from getting too stuffy. Make sure to open your windows regularly (when ambient pollution levels are healthy, of course), and leave your bedroom door open while you sleep.
  • Take your meetings outdoors — CO2 levels increase fastest in small, crowded areas. Anywhere come to mind? Meeting rooms is a prime location where carbon dioxide levels can skyrocket, leaving you and your colleagues feeling drowsy. Holding meetings in larger spaces, or even outdoors, can help everyone stay fresh. 

Carbon Dioxide Resources

Want to learn more about CO2? Check out our additional posts below for more informative content!

For our complete guide to CO2, click below!

Everything you need to know about CO2

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