Is CO2 an Indoor Pollutant? Direct Effects of Low-to-Moderate CO2 Concentrations on Human Decision-Making Performance
Published on Sep 20, 2012 by Environmental Health Perspectives
Quality Score: Medium
This study was of medium-high quality. It subjected 22 university students, 18, 18-29 years old, and 4, 30-39 years old. 12 were female and 8 were male. The study was conducted in a double-blind fashion over with 6 groups of 3-4 subjects over six days. The subjects were subjected to 3, 2 1/2 hour sessions of exposure to CO2 at 600, 1000, and 2500 ppm. Temperature and ventilation were controlled. The use of the Strategic Management Simulation (SMS) software to test cognitive function is what sets this study apart as the SMS software is more likely to test real cognitive ability than simple typing or addition tests. Because the study population was not a realistic sample of the human population, and it's relatively short duration, the study itself asked for researchers to conduct future studies to validate its claims.
Research Findings - (Strength: Strong)
The study found that relative to 600 ppm, at 1,000 ppm CO2, 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 (raw score ratios, 0.06–0.56), but performance on the focused activity scale increased.
Research Paper Facts
- Relative to 600 ppm, at 1,000 ppm CO2, 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 (raw score ratios, 0.06–0.56), but performance on the focused activity scale increased.
- Confirmation of these findings is needed.
Environmental Health Perspectives
Sep 20, 2012
Number of Study Subjects
Funding for this research was provided by Collaborative Activities for Research and Technology Innovation (CARTI), which supports research in the areas of air quality and water resource management. CARTI, part of the Syracuse Center of Excellence located in Syracuse, New York, is supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under award EM-83340401-0. The authors declare they have no actual or potential competing financial interests.
- Usha Satish,
- Mark J. Mendell,
- Krishnamurthy Shekhar,
- Toshifumi Hotchi,
- Douglas Sullivan,
- Siegfried Streufert,
- William J. Fisk
- Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Upstate Medical University, State University of New York
- Indoor Environment Department, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, United States Government
Citation and Paper Location
Satish, U., Mendell, M. J., Shekhar, K., Hotchi, T., Sullivan, D., Streufert, S., & Fisk, W. J. (2012). Is CO2 an indoor pollutant? Direct effects of low-to-moderate CO2 concentrations on human decision-making performance. _Environmental health perspectives_, _120_(12), 1671–1677. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.1104789