CO2Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
STEL: 15000ppm (Short Term exposure Limit - 15mins)
TWA: 5000ppm (Time Weighted Average - 8hrs)
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What Is Carbon Dioxide (CO2)?
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) occurs naturally in the environment, if you use Oxygen to breath as a plant or animal then you also exhale CO2. Plants consume CO2 to grow, therefore it is an essential requirement for life.
Carbon Dioxide is also produced during:
- combustion in diesel and petrol vehicles
- natural gas used for cooking and heating,
- wood and coal burning etc.
- Increased levels of Carbon Dioxide are used in greenhouses to force plant growth.
Carbon Dioxide in Industry:
- as a shielding gas in welding
- fire extinguishant
- used as a refrigerant gas.
- CO2 is the bubbles in carbonated ‘fizzy’ drinks
- the ‘bubbles in bread and rising agents.
- in greenhouses to force plant growth
- constitutes dry ice.
CO2 is not a toxic gas, it has no direct harmful effects however higher concentrations can be dangerous as an asphyxiant.
In the atmosphere CO2 is present at around 400ppm. This will increase rapidly in a closed room with people breathing normally, as CO2 is exhaled.
For this reason the Government produces ventilation guidelines for schools in guidance note BB100 to limit the CO2 level in classrooms to 1000ppm. This guidance can be extrapolated to the workplace to ensure effective ventilation and a good, comfortable workplace environment. High workplace CO2 levels can be a big cause of ‘sick building syndrome’.
At levels of 7% to 10% death may occur from asphyxiation even in the presence of sufficient Oxygen. ‘For this reason where CO2 needs to be monitored for safety it is a requirement to fit CO2 detectors and NOT Oxygen detectors, this is specifically prohibited in British Standard EN 60079-29-2:2007′
Typical symptoms of high CO2 levels can be:
- Stuffy Feeling