Claim: CO2 makes you stupid? Ask a submariner that question

From Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, something that might finally explain Al Gore’s behavior – too much time spent indoors and in auditoriums giving pitches about the dangers of CO2. One wonders though what the Navy submarine service has to say about this new research:

We try to keep CO2 levels in our U.S. Navy submarines no higher than 8,000 parts per million, about 20 time current atmospheric levels. Few adverse effects are observed at even higher levels. – Senate testimony of Dr. William Happer, here

This is backed up by the publication from the National Academies of Science Emergency and Continuous Exposure Guidance Levels for Selected Submarine Contaminants

which documents effects of CO2 at much much higher levels than the medical study, and shows regular safe exposure at these levels…

Data collected on nine nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 3,500 ppm with a range of 0-10,600 ppm, and data collected on 10 nuclear-powered attack submarines indicate an average CO2 concentration of 4,100 ppm with a range of 300-11,300 ppm (Hagar 2003). – page 46

…but shows no concern at the values of 600-2500 ppm of this medical study from LBNL. I figure if the Navy thinks it is safe for men who have their finger on the nuclear weapons keys, then that is good enough for me.

Elevated Indoor Carbon Dioxide Impairs Decision-Making Performance

Berkeley Lab scientists surprised to find significant adverse effects of CO2 on human decision-making performance.

Overturning decades of conventional wisdom, researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have found that moderately high indoor concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) can significantly impair people’s decision-making performance. The results were unexpected and may have particular implications for schools and other spaces with high occupant density.

“In our field we have always had a dogma that CO2 itself, at the levels we find in buildings, is just not important and doesn’t have any direct impacts on people,” said Berkeley Lab scientist William Fisk, a co-author of the study, which was published in Environmental Health Perspectives online last month. “So these results, which were quite unambiguous, were surprising.” The study was conducted with researchers from State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University.

On nine scales of decision-making performance, test subjects showed significant reductions on six of the scales at CO2 levels of 1,000 parts per million (ppm) and large reductions on seven of the scales at 2,500 ppm. The most dramatic declines in performance, in which subjects were rated as “dysfunctional,” were for taking initiative and thinking strategically. “Previous studies have looked at 10,000 ppm, 20,000 ppm; that’s the level at which scientists thought effects started,” said Berkeley Lab scientist Mark Mendell, also a co-author of the study. “That’s why these findings are so startling.”

(caption)

Berkeley Lab researchers found that even moderately elevated levels of indoor carbon dioxide resulted in lower scores on six of nine scales of human decision-making performance.

While the results need to be replicated in a larger study, they point to possible economic consequences of pursuing energy efficient buildings without regard to occupants. “As there’s a drive for increasing energy efficiency, there’s a push for making buildings tighter and less expensive to run,” said Mendell. “There’s some risk that, in that process, adverse effects on occupants will be ignored. One way to make sure occupants get the attention they deserve is to point out adverse economic impacts of poor indoor air quality. If people can’t think or perform as well, that could obviously have adverse economic impacts.”

The primary source of indoor CO2 is humans. While typical outdoor concentrations are around 380 ppm, indoor concentrations can go up to several thousand ppm. Higher indoor CO2 concentrations relative to outdoors are due to low rates of ventilation, which are often driven by the need to reduce energy consumption. In the real world, CO2 concentrations in office buildings normally don’t exceed 1,000 ppm, except in meeting rooms, when groups of people gather for extended periods of time.

In classrooms, concentrations frequently exceed 1,000 ppm and occasionally exceed 3,000 ppm. CO2 at these levels has been assumed to indicate poor ventilation, with increased exposure to other indoor pollutants of potential concern, but the CO2 itself at these levels has not been a source of concern. Federal guidelines set a maximum occupational exposure limit at 5,000 ppm as a time-weighted average for an eight-hour workday.

Fisk decided to test the conventional wisdom on indoor CO2 after coming across two small Hungarian studies reporting that exposures between 2,000 and 5,000 ppm may have adverse impacts on some human activities.

Mendell-Fisk

Berkeley Lab scientists Mark Mendell (left) and William Fisk

Fisk, Mendell, and their colleagues, including Usha Satish at SUNY Upstate Medical University, assessed CO2 exposure at three concentrations: 600, 1,000 and 2,500 ppm. They recruited 24 participants, mostly college students, who were studied in groups of four in a small office-like chamber for 2.5 hours for each of the three conditions. Ultrapure CO2 was injected into the air supply and mixing was ensured, while all other factors, such as temperature, humidity, and ventilation rate, were kept constant. The sessions for each person took place on a single day, with one-hour breaks between sessions.

Although the sample size was small, the results were unmistakable. “The stronger the effect you have, the fewer subjects you need to see it,” Fisk said. “Our effect was so big, even with a small number of people, it was a very clear effect.”

Another novel aspect of this study was the test used to assess decision-making performance, the Strategic Management Simulation (SMS) test, developed by SUNY. In most studies of how indoor air quality affects people, test subjects are given simple tasks to perform, such as adding a column of numbers or proofreading text. “It’s hard to know how those indicators translate in the real world,” said Fisk. “The SMS measures a higher level of cognitive performance, so I wanted to get that into our field of research.”

Strategy and Initiative

Strategic thinking and taking initiative showed the most dramatic declines in performance at 2,500 ppm carbon dioxide concentrations.

The SMS has been used most commonly to assess effects on cognitive function, such as by drugs, pharmaceuticals or brain injury, and as a training tool for executives. The test gives scenarios—for example, you’re the manager of an organization when a crisis hits, what do you do?—and scores participants in nine areas. “It looks at a number of dimensions, such as how proactive you are, how focused you are, or how you search for and use information,” said Fisk. “The test has been validated through other means, and they’ve shown that for executives it is predictive of future income and job level.”

Data from elementary school classrooms has found CO2 concentrations frequently near or above the levels in the Berkeley Lab study. Although their study tested only decision making and not learning, Fisk and Mendell say it is possible that students could be disadvantaged in poorly ventilated classrooms, or in rooms in which a large number of people are gathered to take a test. “We cannot rule out impacts on learning,” their report says.

The next step for the Berkeley Lab researchers is to reproduce and expand upon their findings. “Our first goal is to replicate this study because it’s so important and would have such large implications,” said Fisk. “We need a larger sample and additional tests of human work performance. We also want to include an expert who can assess what’s going on physiologically.”

Until then, they say it’s too early to make any recommendations for office workers or building managers. “Assuming it’s replicated, it has implications for the standards we set for minimum ventilation rates for buildings,” Fisk said. “People who are employers who want to get the most of their workforce would want to pay attention to this.”

Funding for this study was provided by SUNY and the state of New York.

#  #  #

Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory addresses the world’s most urgent scientific challenges by advancing sustainable energy, protecting human health, creating new materials, and revealing the origin and fate of the universe. Founded in 1931, Berkeley Lab’s scientific expertise has been recognized with 13 Nobel prizes. The University of California manages Berkeley Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. For more, visit www.lbl.gov.

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Given what I’ve learned about the Navy exposure, I think this is just another scare tactic to make CO2 look like an invisible boogeyman.

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ColdOldMan

Oh, come on! If this isn’t a ‘cry for funds’ I don’t know what is.
“While the results need to be replicated in a larger study, they point to possible economic consequences of pursuing energy efficient buildings without regard to occupants.”

Ben Wilson

Wonder if these brilliant researchers had ever heard about submarines and CO2. . . .???

Dodgy Geezer

I and my wife sleep in a room which is around 12ft x 12ft x 8ft. We had new double-glazing fitted, which is pretty airtight. The door fits well. And we find that if we go to sleep without leaving a window ajar then we end up with a muggy head in the morning.
No doubt someone can estimate what PPM we are getting….

James

What struck me most about health effects from my service in submarines were the white stains on the stainless steel urinals. A patrol doc once told me this was down to high CO2 levels causing slightly high acidic blood levels dissolving calcium from our skeletons.

Russ R.

I don’t see anything wrong with the experiment’s methodology. Sounds straightforward and easily replicated.
The interpretation of the results makes absolutely no mention of climate. In fact, it cautions against energy-saving measures that reduce ventilation.
What’s the problem?

REPLY:
Well if the Navy (which has studied this at length for obvious safety reasons) sees no problem, why all of the sudden do these researchers? Either our nuclear capability is in the hands of CO2 drunken sailors (in which case we have a BIG problem) or there’s something else going on. – Anthony

On the positive side of things, the highest levels of CO2 seem, according to this study at least, to reduce the tendency of people to use “initiative” — the sort of thing that might lead to crews commandeering a sub and firing missiles illegally.
These sorts of sealed chamber “submarine-esque” studies are questionable at best. They did one a while ago to justify smoking bans in subs by pointing out that nonsmoking crew members in smoking subs had their blood cotinine levels raised by 1 nanogram per milliliter after ten days of being trapped underwater without ANY fresh air while roughly 3,000 cigarettes were smoked by smoking crew members. The Antismokers pointed out that this was a devastating 50 to 100% increase over the pre-experiment norms in the nonsmokers and demanded the Navy ban submarine smoking. What they NEGLECTED to mention was that the normal level for the crew members who smoked was literally THREE THOUSAND TIMES as high: 3,000 ng/ml. The “one nanogram” increase in the nonsmokers was totally meaningless, despite being used to terrify people and change an entire branch of US military policy.
So, as you can see, once you look behind the reports on the studies to the actual facts you’ll often find that the advocacy groups have twisted the science beyond all recognition. In this case I’ll bet that if you dig a bit you’ll find some links to your Warmer folks mixed in: gotta get people frightened of CO2 if you’re going to drive ahead with the program, eh?
– MJM

Luther Wu

As many who’ve paid attention to the debates surrounding atmospheric CO2, I’d have to agree that CO2 apparently makes some people stupid.

Lester Via

The breath you exhale is typically 4% or 40,000 ppm carbon dioxide. How can air inhaled with CO2 contents of 1000 ppm or even 2400 ppm possibly have the adverse effects being attributed here. Like AGW, these absurd conclusions may simply be what happens when the liberal mind attempts to do science.

Low rate of ventilation, CO2 levels go up but oxygen levels go down, hence (possibly) the cognitive difficulties. Did they correct for that?

richard

I have heard a crowded auditorium can have co2 levels of 100,000 ppm. No wonder in crowded situations Al gore goes crazy and blames all the worlds problems on co2.

Andrew30

From the graphic is appears that they created the Carbon Dioxide by buring a organic compound containing THC. Notice the improved ability to focus (on perhaps a loose thread or an anthill) when inflicd with levels that are high’er. The other data seems to fit.
It is Berkeley after all.
[The next step for the Berkeley Lab researchers is to reproduce and expand upon their findings. “Our first goal is to replicate this study because it’s so important and would have such large implications,”]
I bet all the participants are equally eager.
Occupy a study!
Climate Science is going to pot.

Louis Hooffstetter

“…researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have found that moderately high indoor concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) can significantly impair people’s decision-making performance.”
Depending on what you smoked to produce the CO2.

Mark D.

Wow, after 4 deployments I now know what to blame for all my lame decisions!! (Can’t wait to tell my wife – she’s gonna love this excuse!!)

Louis

They did the “study” in one day, which means the order they conducted the sessions could have a big effect on the outcome. What they may have been measuring is how much better people think in the morning before they become bored, weary, or hungry. If they conducted the last session right after lunch when the blood rushes to the digestive track and people get the urge to nap, it would likely have had a negative effect on the results. They need to conduct the experiment again in a different order and see if the results are the same. I suspect they won’t be.

Scarface

It’s the O2, stupid!

Dan in California

I worked on the life support systems for the International Space Station several years ago. At the time, we were trying to keep it below 5,000 ppm (0.5%). I haven’t followed that program through operations, but it’s probably within a factor of two of that number.
NASA SP-3006 is the Bioastronautics Data Book, and it includes guidelines for atmospheric control. In the section for designing for CO2 concentration on page 49 (second edition), there’s a relevant chart. For a 40 day exposure, there is no effect up to 0.5% and “minor perceptive changes” at up to 3% (30,000 ppm). Of course, we tried to get well below these numbers.

They did all three tests in the same day for each participant. I’m sure that I would be pooped by the third one. Is it at all possible that doing all the tests in one day has contributed to the results?

Manfred

REPLY: Well if the Navy (which has studied this at length for obvious safety reasons) sees no problem, why all of the sudden do these researchers? Either our nuclear capability is in the hands of CO2 drunken sailors (in which case we have a BIG problem) or there’s something else going on. – Anthony
As I understand it, this study looked at high order cognitive skills. On the face of it, one might argue that a distinction exists between such meta-skills and the highly trained, order driven skill set of the military. And assuming strategic descisions are independently formulated and made while submerged,the putative cognitive damping effect of CO2 is common to all submarines.
Who knows, may be low p[CO2] in submarines could be as limes once were to the British Navy..sarc..

Lance Wallace

Dodgy Geezer–
Picking up your challenge, i\If you and your wife breathe out about 12 m3/day, together you are putting about about 1 m3 per hour for the 8 hours in your bedroom, which has a volume of let’s say about 30 m3. Taking another commentator’s value of 4% CO2 in exhaled breath, you are putting out 0.04 m3 of CO2 per hour. If the room were really tight, it might have an air exchange rate of 0.1 room volume/h. Assuming that after 8 hours you are near equilibrium value, then the CO2 level will be about 0.04/(0.1*30) = about 13,000 ppm, or near-submarine quality. More likely your air exchange rate is 0.3 which would bring it down to about 4,000 ppm. Yes. headaches are seen in indoor air quality studies at levels > 1000 ppm. I conclude you made the right choice in cracking the window at night.

Nick in vancouver

Mannian statistics at work – “The stronger the effect you have, the fewer subjects you need to see it”. Wow.

Lance Wallace

Russ R.
I agree, the experiment was well-performed and has nothing to do with climate. Note that the experimenters’ LOWEST level of CO2 was 600 ppm, slightly beyond the feared doubling of CO2 due to arrive late this century I think, or maybe early the next. The good news seems to be that people did just fine on these tests at 600 ppm, so outdoor CO2 cannot be claimed by anyone to be directly injurious to health for another century at least.

Stupid is a permanent condition. There is no arguing with it either.
The AGW agenda is brought forward by political scientists for the purpose of influencing people who are unable or unwilling to challenge the disinformation.
I applaud the tone we should laugh and move on. There are a huge number of things to learn and science needs to advance quickly before we all freeze to death under a mile of continental ice.

Before i reduced my excess library, i had a seventies issue of the “Code of Federal Regulations” which was 500 pages of allowable exposures to absolutely EVERYTHING. We were designing a project with an outside air intake close to a elevated parking garage exit and there was a possible CO and CO2 exposure. We installed monitors with shut-off controls and seldom exceeded the ambient levels by even a few PPM. The CFR for CO2 PROLONGED EXPOSURE WAS 50,000 PPM. This molecule is so safe it is used as the fire suppression system gas for the space shuttle and the space station. Prior to accepting this over Halon and other suppression gases, CO2 was tested at prolonged exposure 80,000 PPM with no measurable side effects. Sleepiness was a noticed side effect at 100,000 PPM. Since we exhale 40,000 PPM with every breath, confined spaces routinely reach 3,000 PPM. But it would be nice of the WARMONGERS would stop exhaling.

Geoff Withnell

“Exposure order was balanced across the groups.” In other words, they did the levels in different orders, which is what I would expect for reasonable experimental design. I still suspect the results are due to small sample size.
Louis says:
October 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm
They did the “study” in one day, which means the order they conducted the sessions could have a big effect on the outcome. What they may have been measuring is how much better people think in the morning before they become bored, weary, or hungry. If they conducted the last session right after lunch when the blood rushes to the digestive track and people get the urge to nap, it would likely have had a negative effect on the results. They need to conduct the experiment again in a different order and see if the results are the same. I suspect they won’t be.
Jarryd Beck says:
October 17, 2012 at 4:06 pm
They did all three tests in the same day for each participant. I’m sure that I would be pooped by the third one. Is it at all possible that doing all the tests in one day has contributed to the results?

Chris Edwards

I wondered about the O2 as well, also what is the ambient air pressure on subs? that might make the effects of gasses different. `Anyway I get drowsey if the O2 drops but a breath of pure O2 sorts it.

Lance Wallace

By the way, Fisk and Mendell have both, along with other researchers such as David Wyon, studied the effect of poor indoor air quality on productivity, finding that indeed productivity drops as IAQ worsens. In fact, the main dollar cost of poor IAQ turns out to be this loss of productivity, not health problems per se. In a sick building study at EPA, putting a cost on headaches together with a survey finding on the number of headaches per day, resulted in headaches being identified as the most costly of the various symptoms reported.

William McClenney

If it is out of UC Reversky just reverse it.

“Although the sample size was small, the results were unmistakable. “The stronger the effect you have, the fewer subjects you need to see it,” Fisk said. “Our effect was so big, even with a small number of people, it was a very clear effect.” ”
In fact, it is as clear as mud!

A more pressing problem of tight buildings is the spread of airborne disease. Same for apartments vs. single family homes.
Thanks
JK

bubbagyro

Louis says:
October 17, 2012 at 4:00 pm
You got it, Lou! As a scientist who designed many animal and human trials, I found that the temporal aspects, especially circadian rhythms and order of measurements, are key to having valid control groups.
(I did not read the paper—if anyone has, please put my following qualified remarks to falsification, if possible)
For example, the test has to be randomized for all variables. If they started out with normal CO2, did they increase that going forward only? Not in reverse? (by starting high and going lower, as well, or, best—inserting randomized levels at randomly generated hourly intervals)—that takes thinking and effort. Nice job if they did this.
Being cooped up in a room even at constant atmosphere would result in boredom and lack of initiative, so randomizing variables is an absolute requirement. Also, higher CO2 makes higher humidity less comfortable. [example: plants are more drought tolerant in increasing CO2 concentrations]
n=24? Really. In groups of four? Is that so. What was the dynamic of the 4-group? Were they broken up and refitted into random groups? What is the variance? Among individuals, among groups? Does variance increase or decrease with test levels per individual and group?
There is a paucity of barely passable science being conducted in Universities these days, in my opinion. (This conjecture is not based upon any controlled experiment, of course!) I don’t even think the Scientific Method is taught accurately at any scholastic level very much. Look at papers published in Science, Nature, Sci Am, etc. and form your own opinion…

Alan Watt, CD (Certified Denialist), Level 7

They recruited 24 participants, mostly college students [from Berkeley one assumes – AW], who were studied in groups of four in a small office-like chamber for 2.5 hours for each of the three conditions.

The crew of a ballistic missle sub is around 160; an attack sub around 130. They both can stay submerged for months. I think the study authors’ claim:

Although the sample size was small, the results were unmistakable. “The stronger the effect you have, the fewer subjects you need to see it,” Fisk said. “Our effect was so big, even with a small number of people, it was a very clear effect.”

is definitely premature. On a submarine there is no smoking, no alcohol and no other illicit drugs. The crew is mostly young (but no younger than 20) and exclusively male. The submarine environment is one they train for. A submarine crew is definitely not representative of the population as a whole, and I suspect the study group isn’t either.
One obvious question given the disparity of this study’s results and the experience of the Navy is whether people adapt to higher CO2 levels over time, which cannot be answered by a study spanning just a single day for each subject.
Has anyone measured the CO2 levels in the White House situation room (especially if the President is in there smoking)? Or how about the newsrooms where major media writers and editors churn out copy telling us that so many things are “settled science”? Or how about the offices where the study authors analyzed the data and wrote their conclusions? Or the rooms where the grant committees meet to pass on research funding proposals?
Suddenly there may be a scientific explanation for all those questionable decisions.

John B., M.D.

The human body adjusts to high ambient CO2 levels (i.e. partial pressure) by excreting more acid in the urine. This is akin to respiratory acidosis with metabolic compensation, where the body tries to keep blood pH at 7.40.
A better medical study would distinguish acute exposure from chronic exposure.

Before CAGW, dodgy studies sank into the mud. Larger studies would be used to refute the results, or the study would be seen to be case-specific. Now any study is global.
Regional warming becomes global warming if the local regions are warmed enough. This is, after all, how Mann et al got ride of the MWP: they said it was local! So a small study becomes a global study … if there is only a couple of studies.
They might be right about the reduced cognitive functioning, however the US Navy currently thinks about acceptable levels of CO2. It would be nice to think the nuclear push button wasn’t on the hand of someone unnecessarily stressed by a buidup of CO2. There is enough stress to disturb cognitive thinking in being put in a situation in which one might HAVE to push the nuclear button.

“Fisk, Mendell, and their colleagues, including Usha Satish at SUNY Upstate Medical University, assessed CO2 exposure at three concentrations: 600, 1,000 and 2,500 ppm. They recruited 24 participants, mostly college students, who were studied in groups of four in a small office-like chamber for 2.5 hours for each of the three conditions. Ultrapure CO2 was injected into the air supply and mixing was ensured, while all other factors, such as temperature, humidity, and ventilation rate, were kept constant. The sessions for each person took place on a single day, with one-hour breaks between sessions.
Although the sample size was small, the results were unmistakable. “The stronger the effect you have, the fewer subjects you need to see it,” Fisk said. “Our effect was so big, even with a small number of people, it was a very clear effect.””
********************************************************************************************************
They need to do the tests the opposite way around. Do the morning test with elevated CO2 and the evening tests with the 600ppm and look at the results. My bet is that they will give the same results.

noaaprogrammer

Well, now we know where all that increase in atmospheric CO2 is coming from. Since the earth is a glass-ceilinged greenhouse that contains an ever increasing population of people and animals exhaling 40,000 ppm CO2, – we’re just going to have to eliminate some of these poison gas-emitting creatures – and this doesn’t even take into account flatulence! /sarc

nc

No mention of oxygen levels in the test or bedroom. What kind of a weekend did the test subjects have before the test? Not being proud of myself but while attending school I had the odd weekend that the pain did not stop until the middle of the week.

davidmhoffer

Three 2.5 hour sessions in one day, with CO2 being “injected” into the atmosphere to achieve different concentration levels. Unless they have carbon scrubbing equipment (which they didn’t mention and I doubt) the only practical approach would be to start low and progress to high. The weakest results come from later in the day when people tire and just as importantly, they’ve now repeated the same or similar tasks three times so boredom and inattention becomes increasingly a part of the result.
They don’t know what they’re measuring and they took the complete wrong approach to figuring it out. They should have started with physiology which would have been dead simple to do, just take blood samples. Show an increase in CO2 in the blood, or a decrease in O2 (as examples) and THEN you can start studying what the effects are. Without having shown that there is a significant change in blood chemistry, they’ve got nothing except a very crude and flawed correlation.

Dave Dodd

I had a supervisor (my last one actually, before I hit the eject button and retired) and also several coworkers over the years who were Berzerkely alumni. I just thought the weirdness was high levels of pharmaceuticals! Who wudda thunk Incinerating all that THC would produce CO2 overload?

GeneF

What were the protocols for the test? The tests were all done on the same day. Were the tests done in sequence with the CO2 increasing? What was the food intake between tests (blood sugar) and the conditions during the break? At what time were the tests started and ended. Without the knowing the details, we cannot judge the results. In engineering an unexpected result causes a search for error in the calculations. If each test took an hour, with an hour break the 2500 ppm would be given after 5 hours of other testing, at the end of the day. Without reading the entire paper we are left with questions. He is right on one point. Larger study with all the variables controlled, starting with a review all literature and serious questioning of the validity of any results.

timc

I’m in for the O2 with the others here, what is the level for oxygen in a sub, probably higher than normal atmosphere.

jim2

Be aware there is another non-science credentialed journalist writing a book that includes acid acidification as a catastrophe. Looks like another no-brainer. Name: Annalee Newitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Annalee_Newitz
Upcoming book:
http://www.amazon.com/Scatter-Adapt-Remember-Survive-Extinction/dp/0385535910

Pamela Gray

All kinds of issues crop up for me. Sudden versus acclimated exposure, subject knowledge of substance being studied, students detecting scent changes thus succumbing to subliminal suggestion, lack of placebo control (give them standard air but tell them otherwise) as well as scent change (add a “scent” to the air but don’t change CO2 levels). Heck, studies have shown that humans are capable of detecting hormonal scent changes on each other and our own. We may be able to subconsiously detect our own body scent reaction to air quality changes. This study has all kinds of variables not considered. And yet some doctoral committee will give a candidate a passing mark and we will have yet another CO2-punch-drunk idiot on our hands.

Jimbo

…but shows no concern at the values of 600-2500 ppm of this medical study from LBNL. I figure if the Navy thinks it is safe for men who have their finger on the nuclear weapons keys, then that is good enough for me.

This one paragraph blows this study to pieces. Not only nuclear weapons but multi-million dollar submarines.
Do people’s bodies over time get used to the higher indoor levels the study looked at? What I mean is long term exposure might lead to the body and brain compensating for it. A bit like people who live at higher altitudes being more efficient at taking in oxygen? Just askin.

Jimbo

Michael J. Kubat says:
October 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm
Low rate of ventilation, CO2 levels go up but oxygen levels go down, hence (possibly) the cognitive difficulties. Did they correct for that?

A good point.

otsar

This could explain why such idiotic ideas come out of executive management meetings.

otsar

This could make a really good case for holding executive meetings in golf courses in Hawaii or the Caribbean.

Earl Smith

As an ancient former submariner I think the researchers need to experience the real world.
As a diesel boat officer The CO2 levels would quickly exceed the levels they reguard as dangerous within a few hours. And I assure you that cognitive requirements of operating in a crowded interior an exterior environment were far in excess of the simple math they tested. Anything and everything was a direct threat to your life.
As a nuclear officer I would spend 70 days at a time pushing 48 Hydrogen bombs around the waters to the north of the Soviet Union (back in the days before the PAL interlocks, those birds belonged to the crew!) Because the scrubbers rarely met the design goal of 1% ambient CO2, we were constantly living in levels near 25,000 ppm. (our only symptom was an increase in headaches above 2% — mostly psychosomatic. This was back in the days when smoking was still authorized. (you have never seen drug withdrawl problems until you see a smoker run out of cigarettes with 25 days of the patrol remaining) Alertness was manditory, with simulated launches weekly, and REAL reactor SCRAMs at least several times a week just as qualification drills. The only difference between the drills and an actual casualy is that the Engineer initiated one by secretly turning a switch in one, and that failsafe eqiupment did the switching in the other. (plus the dreaded paperwork that would result if we ever had to rely on the failsafes!!) How we responded was the same as were the many manifold ways we could have an utter disaster. Nothing ruins your day like being dead in the water, at **** feet, with the reactor dead, the main electrical dead, and the instruments showing their story by the light of a couple battery powered battle lanterns. The objective at this point being to forestalt YOU being dead.

Could there be an effect from too many/few positive/negative ions?

As a sufferer from asthma, i know that elevated levels of CO2 are beneficial and immediately reduce the symptoms of asthma as well as medication does.

John B., M.D.

That is not a valid medical claim.
You need better maintenance meds.

AndyG55

Roger, not just negative positive ions.. We breathe out far more than just CO2 and oxygen. tainted water vapour, spoors etc etc, and in an unventilated room , these build up and the sinuses have to work much harder to clean the air causing a build up of “stuff”. Sinus effects, sore eyes etc are likely to be one of the main causes of any cognitive decrease.