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J Occup Environ Hyg. 2016;13(1):19-29. doi: 10.1080/15459624.2015.1076160.

High indoor CO2 concentrations in an office environment increases the transcutaneous CO2 level and sleepiness during cognitive work.

Author information

1
a Sirate Group Ltd. , Tampere , Finland.
2
b Department of Civil Engineering , Tampere University of Technology , Tampere , Finland.
3
c Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Centre of Excellence of Health and Work Ability, Physical Work Capacity , Helsinki , Finland.
4
d Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Centre of Excellence of Health and Work Ability, Physical Work Capacity , Oulu , Finland.
5
e Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Theme Well-being Solutions for the Workplace , Tampere , Finland.
6
f Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Centre of Excellence of Health and Work Ability, Systems Toxicology , Helsinki , Finland.
7
g University Properties of Finland Ltd. , Tampere , Finland.

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to perform a multiparametric analysis on the environmental factors, the physiological stress reactions in the body, the measured alertness, and the subjective symptoms during simulated office work. Volunteer male subjects were monitored during three 4-hr work meetings in an office room, both in a ventilated and a non-ventilated environment. The environmental parameters measured included CO(2), temperature, and relative humidity. The physiological test battery consisted of measuring autonomic nervous system functions, salivary stress hormones, blood's CO(2)- content and oxygen saturation, skin temperatures, thermal sensations, vigilance, and sleepiness. The study shows that we can see physiological changes caused by high CO(2) concentration. The findings support the view that low or moderate level increases in concentration of CO(2) in indoor air might cause elevation in the blood's transcutaneously assessed CO(2). The observed findings are higher CO(2) concentrations in tissues, changes in heart rate variation, and an increase of peripheral blood circulation during exposure to elevated CO(2) concentration. The subjective parameters and symptoms support the physiological findings. This study shows that a high concentration of CO(2) in indoor air seem to be one parameter causing physiological effects, which can decrease the facility user's functional ability. The correct amount of ventilation with relation to the number of people using the facility, functional air distribution, and regular breaks can counteract the decrease in functional ability. The findings of the study suggest that merely increasing ventilation is not necessarily a rational solution from a technical-economical viewpoint. Instead or in addition, more comprehensive, anthropocentric planning of space is needed as well as instructions and new kinds of reference values for the design and realization of office environments.

KEYWORDS:

Autonomic nervous system function; blood gases; carbon dioxide; room ventilation; skin temperatures

PMID:
26273786
DOI:
10.1080/15459624.2015.1076160
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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