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Indoor Carbon Dioxide Linked to Reduced Brain Function

Posted Oct 22 2012 10:08pm
Posted on Oct. 19, 2012, 6 a.m. in Environment

Previous studies have suggested that higher indoor carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations associated with a variety of health symptoms.  Mark Mendell, from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (California, USA), and colleagues enrolled 22 adults in a study in which subjects were exposed to CO2 at 600, 1,000, and 2,500 ppm in an office-like chamber, in six groups. Each group was exposed to these conditions in three 2.5-hour sessions, all on one day, with exposure order balanced across groups. Under each condition, participants completed questionnaires on health symptoms and perceived air quality, and a computer-based test of decision-making performance.  Relative to 600 ppm, at 1,000 ppm CO2, the researchers observed moderate and statistically significant decrements occurred in six of nine scales of decision-making performance. At 2,500 ppm, large and statistically significant reductions occurred in seven scales of decision-making performance.  The study authors conclude that: “Direct adverse effects of CO2 on human performance may be economically important and may limit energy-saving reductions in outdoor air ventilation per person in buildings.”

Satish U, Mendell MJ, Shekhar K, Hotchi T, Sullivan D, Streufert S, Fisk WB. “Is CO2 an Indoor Pollutant? Direct Effects of Low-to-Moderate CO2 Concentrations on Human Decision-Making Performance.” Environ Health Perspect. 2012 Sep 20.

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55. Be Travel Wise, Not Travel Weary
In a single year, an estimated 1.5 billion people travel by commercial airplane. So, it's not too difficult to imagine how easy it could be to become sick while in an airport or aboard an aircraft. To keep the skies friendly to your health, consider following these ten travel-savvy tips:
1. Wear loose clothing. If you feel bloated after disembarking from a plane, it’s because the low air pressure (8000 feet [2,438 meters] inside the jet cabin) makes our bodies swell up.
2. Keep your fluids up. While in flight, drink 8 ounces (236 ml) of water during every hour. Cabin air is notoriously dry (0 to 2% humidity). Be sure to take the flight attendants up on their offers of bottled water during your flight. Avoid tap water on airplanes. It is treated with mild detergents, and no regulatory standards are in effect for commercial aircraft water tanks
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