This is one of those Internet questions that seem to be answered by everyone quoting someone else, without much justification. So there’s a whole range of bogus answers. For a change, Wikipedia appears to have the best information (although the source is not cited).
Fresh air is 21% oxygen. (Not 20% as many sources claim.)
Exhaled air is 13.6% – 16%.
That means a person absorbs between 8.4% and 5% of the oxygen.
Of course, that’s liable to change if the air isn’t fresh. For example in a car with the vents closed and the windows up, or in a nearly closed room, oxygen will drop considerably. It may be that the percent absorbed changes, too.
Note that in exhaling, getting rid of the carbon dioxide (CO2) is critical. Animals absolutely do not want a build-up of that CO2, because to animals, that’s a waste product.
But plants love CO2, so everything is happy, ecologically.
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