EPSC Learning Sheet

Carbon Dioxide Intoxication

Published 11 February 2020

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What Happened?

In a laboratory environment residual solid CO2 (dry ice) was stored in a bin in a cooled storage room. When entering this room, a person felt ill due to the CO2 gas.

Aspects:

Solid CO2 or dry ice is often used in laboratories for the cooling of substrates. Solid CO2 will evaporate over time (sublimation at ca -78 oC) and will release hazardous CO2 that will also displace oxygen

Proper ventilation is essential when working with dry ice to keep CO2 gas concentration low. CO2 will result in hyperventilation (1%) and becomes a direct threat to life (10%)

Closed boxes or storage rooms containing chemicals that can evaporate are “Restricted Areas” and need access control. Gas detection (O2 or CO2) on the inside with warning on the outside and inside. Access by trained personnel only

Make sure all such area’s, locations where chemical gases can accumulate, are well identified and well controlled

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