Carbon dioxide is a carbon molecule bonded with 2 oxygen molecules; carbon monoxide is a carbon molecule bonded with one oxygen molecule.
Carbon dioxide is the main greenhouse gas of concern when people talk about climate change, it is primarily created by industrial production, breathing (we exhale CO2), and environmental sources (like wildfires).
Carbon monoxide is found in car exhaust, and is not considered a greenhouse gas.
Both are deadly to humans in concentrated enough doses, though carbon monoxide is more dangerous and is the most common form of fatal poisoning in many countries. Carbon monoxide is odorless and tasteless, which add to the danger.
Indeed Carbon dioxide is created when a carbon atom bonds w/ two oxygen atoms. Carbon Monoxide is formed when one carbon atom is bonded with one oxygen atom.
Carbon dioxide is roughly 1% of the earths atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is primarily measured in PPM (parts per million.
The current average level of CO2 is roughly 400 PPM. Per ASHRAE 62.1 the CO2 level of outside air is calculated to fall between 300-500 PPM. The recommended maximum CO2 levels for humans can be 5,000 PPM per OSHA standards. However conference rooms and places with little ventilation can easily reach 10,000 PPM. The actual dangerous levels for humans (where people black out and suffer respitory failure) is 50,000 PPM.
Where as the levels of carbon monoxide are much lower at 50 PPM maximum.
Both carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are colorless, tasteless, and odorless gasses. While carbon dioxide is soluble in water, carbon monoxide is only partially soluble. Carbon dioxide is noncombustible and weighs about 1.5 times more than air, but carbon monoxide is flammable and slightly lighter than air. Carbon dioxide is found in nature, and we exhale it with every breath. It is dangerous because it replaces oxygen, which we need to live; it can cause headaches, drowsiness, and loss of ability to concentrate. Carbon monoxide is a waste product of incomplete combustion of coal, wood, charcoal, natural gas, fuel oil, kerosene, gasoline, fabrics and plastics. It is the leading cause of poisoning deaths in the United States as it interferes with the body’s ability to carry oxygen.
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