What Are Safe CO2 Levels?

Written by russell huebsch
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What Are Safe CO2 Levels?
CO2 concentrations above 5,000 parts per million are unsafe. (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Kevin Dooley)

Carbon dioxide, usually known by its chemical name CO2, has no colour or odour and occurs abundantly in our atmosphere as part of the natural life cycle and from the burning of hydrocarbons.

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TThe 5,000 Line

As of 2010, the federal government considers any concentration of carbon dioxide below 5,000 parts per million as safe, according to the DuPage County, Illinois, Health Department.


Above safe levels, carbon dioxide can induce asphyxiation and/or headaches, fatigue and delirium.


The safety limits demanded by federal and state governments apply to an average, healthy adult. The elderly and younger children are more susceptible to CO2 poisoning.


In general, dangerous levels of CO2 are not often found inside homes, according to the Minnesota Department of Health. Most indoor air pollution comes from particles released by building materials and people.


Proper ventilation reduces the build-up of carbon dioxide in a space. The exact amount depends on the type of space and how many people it holds. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) recommends ventilation between 15 and 60 cubic feet of outside air per minute.

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