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Ever zoned out in a meeting?

Have you ever zoned out in a meeting? It might be due to high CO2 levels.

Being exposed to increased carbon dioxide in confined spaces can have a negative impact on your decision-making skills. A study by Fisk et al. showed surprising results: people were affected by CO2 levels lower than previously thought to be significant.

Decision-making decreased moderately at 1,000 ppm, with decreases ranging from 11 to 23 percent, and significantly at 2,500 ppm, with decreases of 44 to 94 percent. The most dramatic effects were found in the participants' ability to engage in strategic thinking and taking initiative.

Researchers acknowledge the need for more studies, but Fisk says that “employers who want to get the most of their workforce would want to pay attention to this”.

The human brain evolved in an atmosphere around 200 to 300 ppm of CO2, but nowadays, we're regularly dealing with outdoor levels of 400 ppm or more. That's bad for the environment, but it could also be bad for your brain.

To read the full study, visit https://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/doi/10.1289/ehp.1104789.