Is Carbon Dioxide a Poison

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Is Carbon Dioxide a Poison

Postby wolfhnd on October 2nd, 2010, 3:51 am 

I had a discussion about the distinction between those things that inherently cause cellular damage and natural components of a biological system that may be toxic at increased levels. Carbon dioxide levels above 1% are considered a health hazard, does that mean that it is appropriate to say that carbon dioxide is toxic? To me this is a very poor use of language.
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Re: Is Carbon Dioxide a Poison

Postby CanadysPeak on October 2nd, 2010, 7:14 am 

wolfhnd wrote:I had a discussion about the distinction between those things that inherently cause cellular damage and natural components of a biological system that may be toxic at increased levels. Carbon dioxide levels above 1% are considered a health hazard, does that mean that it is appropriate to say that carbon dioxide is toxic? To me this is a very poor use of language.


No, I'd never call carbon dioxide a poison. Eliminate it all together and we die.

We might compare it to Vitamin A - essential for life, toxic at higher levels.

Yep, we ought to be careful with language.
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Re: Is Carbon Dioxide a Poison

Postby Don Juan on October 6th, 2010, 2:11 pm 

If one would realize, the body employs mechanisms to deliberately kill some of its cells. For example, apoptosis plays an important role in normal embryonic development of multi-cellular organisms. I think we have to consider poison and toxicity in the context of disturbance in the normal functioning of the organism. Labeling carbon dioxide at toxic levels as poison has logical and practical bases in my opinion. Falling in the category of poison may also derive on the degree of disturbance and not by inherent property alone.
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Re: Is Carbon Dioxide a Poison

Postby wolfhnd on October 6th, 2010, 2:56 pm 

Thanks for the replies. This is something that I just can't get a handle on. No one calls vitamin D a poison but "An excess of vitamin D causes abnormally high blood concentrations of calcium (hypercalcemia), which can cause overcalcification of the bones, soft tissues, heart and kidneys. It can also damage the kidney and produce kidney stones. In addition, hypertension can result." Excess oxygen is actually more dangerous than excess co2. Maybe I will start a poll :-)
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Re: Is Carbon Dioxide a Poison

Postby Don Juan on October 6th, 2010, 3:49 pm 

I think even no one calls vitamin D a poison, it becomes poisonous in a technical way at that level when it becomes a cause of abnormal body functioning to the disadvantage of the organism, and in Toxicology we have this standard called Lethal Dose or Lethal Concentration depending on the effect we want to observe which may describe long term or short term effects.
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