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Hydroponics and Atmospheric C02 Health & Safety

Tailpipe C02 and other pollutants…you breathe them. Tailpipe C02 and other pollutants…you breathe them. © RosebudMag.com

In the raging and often bitter debate about global climate change and its relation to carbon dioxide and human activity, there are several facts that are beyond debate. And as hydroponics growers, C02 can be a big friend, but what else can it be?

One fact is that when humans use fossil fuels or engage in other activities such as burning forests to clear land for agriculture (as is happening on a massive scale in the Amazon rainforest), humans release large amounts of C02 into the atmosphere.

Atmospheric levels of C02 have been increasing at a rapid, unnatural rate ever since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, and the rise is especially sharp since 1950.

Another fact is that the atmosphere of many urbanized and/or industrialized areas is often intermittently “capped” by what scientists call a “C02 dome.”

This is a concentration of higher than usual atmospheric C02 that remains trapped over an area, raising C02 levels far higher than normal.

Those domes are often found in combination with higher than average levels of particulates, ozone, and other airborne pollutants. Excuse me while I cough my lungs out, ok?

In almost all cases, these unnatural conditions pose human health risks affecting your respiratory system, blood, brain, and other key organs and body systems.

Ever wondered why you feel drowsy, headachy, dizzy, mind-fogged or otherwise down after spending a few hours indoors in an office building?

It could be because most office buildings and similar structures regularly have elevated ambient C02 levels between 600-1000 ppm. These levels are considered “normal,” and people are expected to work in them.

Elevated levels of C02, in some cases as high as 3000-5000 ppm, can exist in poorly-ventilated buildings!

Obviously, you’re concerned about potential health effects of hanging out in your grow room when you’re adding C02. You have good reason to be concerned, and you should do everything possible to minimize your time inside your grow room when C02 levels are elevated beyond 450 ppm.

Whether this means you have a period during the lights-on cycle when you allow your room to flush C02 to lower the levels, or you do grow room maintenance during your dark cycle using a green light as illumination, the less time you spend in elevated C02, the better.

If you want to go to the trouble of wearing a ventilator mask that filters what you breathe to mitigate the effects of added C02 in your grow room, you can do it, but it seems like a lot of hassle to me.

Acute exposure to very high C02 levels (3000 ppm or more) in a sealed space can put you in a coma or even kill you. Cumulative exposure to lower but still elevated levels of C02 can cause less severe health issues. And remember, beyond 1000 ppm C02, elevated levels of C02 can even harm your plants.

The bottom line is that you want to avoid elevated levels of C02, whether it be in air-polluted cities or a grow room. Plants breathe C02, and we breathe oxygen. C02 displaces oxygen.  If you run an elevated C02 grow room, remember the risks to your health, and protect yourself accordingly.

Let’s face it, your plants give you faster growth and bigger yields when you add C02 to their atmosphere, but if you do add C02 to your grow room, or if you live in a city with bad air, please take precautions!

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Industrial Revolution = C02 Emissions RosebudMag.com
Last modified on Wednesday, 20 October 2010 21:49

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