Rising carbon dioxide levels not only aggravate climate change but decrease cognitive function and your decision making skills as well.

0

Since 1960 the CO₂-concentration in the atmosphere has increased by over 100 ppm (an increase of over 30%)3. Many people are aware of the devestating effects of carbon dioxide on nature, but many people do not consider the effects of high CO₂-levels on the human body.

CO₂ can be toxic at high levels5, but even at seemingly low concentrations it can have significant effects on the human body.

The concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere (as of June 2021) is about 420 ppm.3

At concentrations of 1000 ppm cognitive function decreases by about 15%.1 At concentrations of 1400 ppm an even more dramatic decline in cognitive function of 50% was observed.1

Even though such high concentrations are not expected in the near future, poorly ventilated rooms often reach concentrations of over 1000 ppm.6

Of over 550 examined schools in Texas, Washington an Idaho almost 50% reached CO₂-concentrations of over 1000 ppm.1

Very high CO₂-concentrations can also lead to headaches, difficulty breathing, elevated blood pressure and many other health effects, that can be serious when exposed for an extended period of time.4

Considering the average American spends about 90% indoors1,2, properly ventilating your rooms may not only improve your well being in the short term, but also decrease your chance of getting serious illnesses in the long term.

Maybe The Great Filter is just that through the process of trial and error over a few hundred thousand years, usually each civilization manages to wipe itself out with technologies that have extinction-causing side effects.

I say that living in a house full of asbestos and lead paint, a few blocks away from a highway spewing tons of gasses and particulates that are harmful to humans and our ecosystem.

“The researchers sourced their data from the IQ test scores of 18- to 19-year-old Norwegian men who took the tests as part of their national, compulsory military service”. Seems pretty limited, especially since you can delay that service for college. It also says it’s not happening in the US, so where else is it not happening?

I think it’s also that these dumb people now have phones with cameras and access to the internet. So they’ve just exposed themselves more so than ever before. It’s just become more apparent these past few years with the situation we’re in. Hopefully this will be considered lessons to our future generations. We’ll overcome this stupid epidemic and look back on this time as a growing pain in the history of the internet.

Then again, too many stupid people are rewarded too easily with fame, thus creating a never ending cycle of more and more dumb dumbs, and they end up taking over the entire world and Idiocracy was a documentary this whole time, sent from the future. We’re all doomed.

I have an air meter in my room. If we close the doors and windows when going to bed it’ll spike pretty quickly to 1300-1400ppm CO2 with my wife and I sleeping. If I turn on the HVAC fan (no A/C or heat, just the fan to circulate air through the vents) it keeps it around 700-900. If the windows are open it’ll stay closer to 500.

It’s actually a pretty small room. Maybe 250 square feet.

We actually just had my mom housesitting and I bet she didn’t turn on HVAC or open windows and the air chart is saying that ppm slowly grew over the night to a peak of 1300 closer to the morning.

Edit: Here’s the CO2 with my mom sleeping probably without HVAC or windows open. And here’s my wife and I sleeping with HVAC on.

Former union sheet metal/HVAC installer here hoping to help clear things up. Normal industrial or large scale heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems are designed to have three aspects:

-Supply

This feeds you heated or conditioned air. I won’t get into how the air gets heated or cooled because it is irrelevant to our discussion. We are concerned with transfer of air and volume of air. Heated or conditioned air comes in at a determined velocity, known as CFM. Or, how many cubic feet of air you can move per minute. So we know the CFM the supply has coming into a room.

-Return

We know that heat or conditioned air can be reused. It saves us from pulling in fresh air constantly and trying to heat or condition it. So we return some of that air back to the unit that will reheat or recondition it. No need to be less effective if we don’t have to, but we also know that we can’t just cycle air throughout a room or building without getting some fresh air in. Generally this will pull about 60-80% of the air that gets pushed into the room and be “recycled” and mixed with fresh air.

-Exhaust

Air has moisture, so we need to get it out. It has to exhaust somewhere, so we often just push it outside. This does the the rest. The 40-20% that the return doesn’t pull.

The key is to get the air coming into the room in such a manner that it isn’t noticably windy, but to also get the air out just as fast in such a way that isn’t noticably windy. Having an imbalance will often cause the issues described in the OP. If everything is working as it should be in a well designed HVAC system, this should never be an issue.

Good question. I neglected to mention because it was late and I was tired that the exhaust system always runs, no matter what. So you will always be pulling air out of the room, even if the HVAC system shuts off. Usually these are separate from the heat/AC units and just are fans on the roof (similar to the fart fans you have in your bathrooms).

If the building is large enough and doesn’t have fire rated walls, we put “transfers” between rooms so air can transfer between the rooms and not get stale. If it has fire rated walls, we put fire dampers in transfers and still put transfers in.

I appreciate the time and effort you put into compiling this information. It’s a great post. Unfortunately you’ve missed the point and misidentified the danger.

Carbon dioxide concentrations of 900 or 1400 ppm are bad for cognitive function, yes. But these studies and findings are not supports for “we must stop global warming”. They don’t undermine it, but if the normal CO2 level hits 1400, or even 900 (which it might by 2100), then we’re FUCKED, and our office workers being a little dimmer will not even be in the table of contents of the book of all our huge existential problems.

Current levels are around 420 ppm, which our brains can handle just fine and which the planet can live with, at least for the moment. What these studies indicate is that under current conditions, our existing inside-work infrastructure is bad for our brains. It’s easy – even routine – to hit these levels in theoretically well-ventilated, decently-designed structures.

We need to fix our existing buildings, and raise awareness of the subtle but real problem that ordinary CO2 buildups can cause. THAT is what your collection of research points to. Yeah, absolutely, fix AGW – that’s a bigger priority – but this doesn’t add any weight to that need. We’d need to fix AGW even if CO2 doubled dick size and made us all incredibly witty and kind. No more proof needed of that.

This is proof that our building designs have an unforeseen flaw, that ordinary CO2 buildup is problematic for human functioning.

Seriously, I’m going out to buy a CO2 meter on Monday, the minute I have a little cash on hand.

This correlation between the ambient CO2 levels and cognitive dysfunction always boggled my mind and I honestly still don’t understand the physiology of it. How can 1000 ppm (which is a partial pressure of less than 1 Hgmm on sea level) influence the brain where it is almost always more than 35 Hgmm and regulated to be around 40. The alveolar CO2 concentration which is in equilibrium with pulmonary capillary blood, and because of that, systemic arterial pCO2, is also around 35-40 Hgmm, which means 45.000-50.000 ppm of CO2 in the airways. So how does that work?

Atmospheric scientist here! Afaik, most everyone in my field likes to point to the ozone hole as the success story of politicians actually listening to us. The Montreal Protocol did effectively prevent CFCs (chemicals that created the ozone hole) from being emitted, and now no one’s super worried about it anymore. As another commenter alluded to, I think there have been some illegal CFC emissions, but not enough for anyone to be concerned about the ozone layer as a whole. It’s someone’s problem, but I’m personally not losing sleep over it.

Unfortunately, CFCs were replaced by HCFCs, which are extremely potent greenhouse gases. I do lose sleep over stuff like that.

Atmospheric scientist here!

CO2 concentrations do increase with altitude. That’s because sinks of CO2 (think: photosynthesizing plants) are all at the surface. CO2 has a very long lifetime, so it’s easy for it be well-mixed and stick around longer at altitudes farther up.

That being said, surface concentrations of CO2 aren’t that different from OP’s modern-day figure of 420 ppm. That figure was obtained from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, which (after a quick Google search) sits at an altitude of 13,700 feet. I don’t have a source/link for you at the moment, but a professor of mine in Seattle has a CO2 monitor, which reads around 400 ppm outdoors.

OP’s figures of upwards of 1,000 ppm are not out of the question if we keep emitting greenhouse gases, business as usual. Another off-the-top-of-my-head estimate, but I think it would take us a majority of this century to get to that point (if we don’t decarbonize). So it’s not like OP is talking about an immediate threat, but it’s another of a great many reasons to decarbonize.

Sources:

Since 1960 the CO₂-concentration in the atmosphere has increased by over 100 ppm (an increase of over 30%)3. Many people are aware of the devestating effects of carbon dioxide on nature, but many people do not consider the effects of high CO₂-levels on the human body.

CO₂ can be toxic at high levels5, but even at seemingly low concentrations it can have significant effects on the human body.

The concentration of CO₂ in the atmosphere (as of June 2021) is about 420 ppm.3

At concentrations of 1000 ppm cognitive function decreases by about 15%.1 At concentrations of 1400 ppm an even more dramatic decline in cognitive function of 50% was observed.1

Even though such high concentrations are not expected in the near future, poorly ventilated rooms often reach concentrations of over 1000 ppm.6

Of over 550 examined schools in Texas, Washington an Idaho almost 50% reached CO₂-concentrations of over 1000 ppm.1

Very high CO₂-concentrations can also lead to headaches, difficulty breathing, elevated blood pressure and many other health effects, that can be serious when exposed for an extended period of time.4

Considering the average American spends about 90% indoors1,2, properly ventilating your rooms may not only improve your well being in the short term, but also decrease your chance of getting serious illnesses in the long term.

Maybe The Great Filter is just that through the process of trial and error over a few hundred thousand years, usually each civilization manages to wipe itself out with technologies that have extinction-causing side effects.

I say that living in a house full of asbestos and lead paint, a few blocks away from a highway spewing tons of gasses and particulates that are harmful to humans and our ecosystem.

“The researchers sourced their data from the IQ test scores of 18- to 19-year-old Norwegian men who took the tests as part of their national, compulsory military service”. Seems pretty limited, especially since you can delay that service for college. It also says it’s not happening in the US, so where else is it not happening?

I think it’s also that these dumb people now have phones with cameras and access to the internet. So they’ve just exposed themselves more so than ever before. It’s just become more apparent these past few years with the situation we’re in. Hopefully this will be considered lessons to our future generations. We’ll overcome this stupid epidemic and look back on this time as a growing pain in the history of the internet.

Then again, too many stupid people are rewarded too easily with fame, thus creating a never ending cycle of more and more dumb dumbs, and they end up taking over the entire world and Idiocracy was a documentary this whole time, sent from the future. We’re all doomed.

I have an air meter in my room. If we close the doors and windows when going to bed it’ll spike pretty quickly to 1300-1400ppm CO2 with my wife and I sleeping. If I turn on the HVAC fan (no A/C or heat, just the fan to circulate air through the vents) it keeps it around 700-900. If the windows are open it’ll stay closer to 500.

It’s actually a pretty small room. Maybe 250 square feet.

We actually just had my mom housesitting and I bet she didn’t turn on HVAC or open windows and the air chart is saying that ppm slowly grew over the night to a peak of 1300 closer to the morning.

Edit: Here’s the CO2 with my mom sleeping probably without HVAC or windows open. And here’s my wife and I sleeping with HVAC on.

Former union sheet metal/HVAC installer here hoping to help clear things up. Normal industrial or large scale heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems are designed to have three aspects:

-Supply

This feeds you heated or conditioned air. I won’t get into how the air gets heated or cooled because it is irrelevant to our discussion. We are concerned with transfer of air and volume of air. Heated or conditioned air comes in at a determined velocity, known as CFM. Or, how many cubic feet of air you can move per minute. So we know the CFM the supply has coming into a room.

-Return

We know that heat or conditioned air can be reused. It saves us from pulling in fresh air constantly and trying to heat or condition it. So we return some of that air back to the unit that will reheat or recondition it. No need to be less effective if we don’t have to, but we also know that we can’t just cycle air throughout a room or building without getting some fresh air in. Generally this will pull about 60-80% of the air that gets pushed into the room and be “recycled” and mixed with fresh air.

-Exhaust

Air has moisture, so we need to get it out. It has to exhaust somewhere, so we often just push it outside. This does the the rest. The 40-20% that the return doesn’t pull.

The key is to get the air coming into the room in such a manner that it isn’t noticably windy, but to also get the air out just as fast in such a way that isn’t noticably windy. Having an imbalance will often cause the issues described in the OP. If everything is working as it should be in a well designed HVAC system, this should never be an issue.

Good question. I neglected to mention because it was late and I was tired that the exhaust system always runs, no matter what. So you will always be pulling air out of the room, even if the HVAC system shuts off. Usually these are separate from the heat/AC units and just are fans on the roof (similar to the fart fans you have in your bathrooms).

If the building is large enough and doesn’t have fire rated walls, we put “transfers” between rooms so air can transfer between the rooms and not get stale. If it has fire rated walls, we put fire dampers in transfers and still put transfers in.

I appreciate the time and effort you put into compiling this information. It’s a great post. Unfortunately you’ve missed the point and misidentified the danger.

Carbon dioxide concentrations of 900 or 1400 ppm are bad for cognitive function, yes. But these studies and findings are not supports for “we must stop global warming”. They don’t undermine it, but if the normal CO2 level hits 1400, or even 900 (which it might by 2100), then we’re FUCKED, and our office workers being a little dimmer will not even be in the table of contents of the book of all our huge existential problems.

Current levels are around 420 ppm, which our brains can handle just fine and which the planet can live with, at least for the moment. What these studies indicate is that under current conditions, our existing inside-work infrastructure is bad for our brains. It’s easy – even routine – to hit these levels in theoretically well-ventilated, decently-designed structures.

We need to fix our existing buildings, and raise awareness of the subtle but real problem that ordinary CO2 buildups can cause. THAT is what your collection of research points to. Yeah, absolutely, fix AGW – that’s a bigger priority – but this doesn’t add any weight to that need. We’d need to fix AGW even if CO2 doubled dick size and made us all incredibly witty and kind. No more proof needed of that.

This is proof that our building designs have an unforeseen flaw, that ordinary CO2 buildup is problematic for human functioning.

Seriously, I’m going out to buy a CO2 meter on Monday, the minute I have a little cash on hand.

This correlation between the ambient CO2 levels and cognitive dysfunction always boggled my mind and I honestly still don’t understand the physiology of it. How can 1000 ppm (which is a partial pressure of less than 1 Hgmm on sea level) influence the brain where it is almost always more than 35 Hgmm and regulated to be around 40. The alveolar CO2 concentration which is in equilibrium with pulmonary capillary blood, and because of that, systemic arterial pCO2, is also around 35-40 Hgmm, which means 45.000-50.000 ppm of CO2 in the airways. So how does that work?

Atmospheric scientist here! Afaik, most everyone in my field likes to point to the ozone hole as the success story of politicians actually listening to us. The Montreal Protocol did effectively prevent CFCs (chemicals that created the ozone hole) from being emitted, and now no one’s super worried about it anymore. As another commenter alluded to, I think there have been some illegal CFC emissions, but not enough for anyone to be concerned about the ozone layer as a whole. It’s someone’s problem, but I’m personally not losing sleep over it.

Unfortunately, CFCs were replaced by HCFCs, which are extremely potent greenhouse gases. I do lose sleep over stuff like that.

Atmospheric scientist here!

CO2 concentrations do increase with altitude. That’s because sinks of CO2 (think: photosynthesizing plants) are all at the surface. CO2 has a very long lifetime, so it’s easy for it be well-mixed and stick around longer at altitudes farther up.

That being said, surface concentrations of CO2 aren’t that different from OP’s modern-day figure of 420 ppm. That figure was obtained from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, which (after a quick Google search) sits at an altitude of 13,700 feet. I don’t have a source/link for you at the moment, but a professor of mine in Seattle has a CO2 monitor, which reads around 400 ppm outdoors.

OP’s figures of upwards of 1,000 ppm are not out of the question if we keep emitting greenhouse gases, business as usual. Another off-the-top-of-my-head estimate, but I think it would take us a majority of this century to get to that point (if we don’t decarbonize). So it’s not like OP is talking about an immediate threat, but it’s another of a great many reasons to decarbonize.

Sources:

https://www.reddit.com/r/boxingusstreamspaul/
https://www.reddit.com/r/boxingstreamsonfite/
https://www.reddit.com/r/boxingusstreamspaul/comments/ntu1xx/boxing_streams_reddit/
https://www.reddit.com/r/boxingstreamsonfite/comments/ntvrvq/mayweather_vs_logan_paul_live_free/
https://www.reddit.com/r/boxingusstreamspaul/comments/ntiqzv/rboxingusstreamspaul_lounge/
https://www.reddit.com/r/MusicBattlestations/comments/ntjnyp/boxing_streams_reddit/
https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/ntjpb8/boxing_streams_reddit/
https://www.reddit.com/r/kpop/comments/ntjpje/boxing_streams_reddit/
https://www.reddit.com/r/classicalmusic/comments/ntjq4h/boxing_streams_reddit/
https://www.sdgphilanthropy.org/node/6432
https://forums.ubisoft.com/showthread.php/2347270-Boxing-Streams-Reddit-Boxing-Streams-Reddit?p=15447456#post15447456
https://forums.ubisoft.com/showthread.php/2347276-Boxing-Streams-Reddit-Boxing-Streams-Reddit-Boxing-Streams-Reddit?p=15447465#post15447465
https://forums.ubisoft.com/showthread.php/2347284-Boxing-streams-reddit-boxing-streams-reddit-FREE?p=15447523#post15447523
https://a.hatena.ne.jp/mupegu/
https://a.hatena.ne.jp/jyfocofy/
https://lemon.shivtr.com/forum_threads/3462514
https://lemon.shivtr.com/forum_threads/3462523
https://blog.goo.ne.jp/sgdhygi7/e/b60da8e84a421b761ada18d5c31cb520
https://jyfocofyy.substack.com/p/boxing-streams-reddit/
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There is also a great video on this topic by Kurtis Baute featured on Tom Scott’s YouTube channel, where I got the idea for this post and some of my sources.

There is also a great video on this topic by Kurtis Baute featured on Tom Scott’s YouTube channel, where I got the idea for this post and some of my sources.

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