HomeBlogThe composition of inhaled and exhaled air. What should and shouldn’t contain?

The composition of inhaled and exhaled air. What should and shouldn’t contain?

Air – what is it and what does it contain?

Air is a mixture of gases and aerosols that make up the Earth’s atmosphere. As for the composition, it has changed considerably throughout its history. Currently, however, everything is standardized and although the concentration of individual air components still changes slightly, these changes are very minor. Of course, there are components in the air that can be called constants and those that can be called variables – the latter depend on various factors, hence their greater fluctuations, such as a change in the content of carbon dioxide, water vapor, or carbon dioxide sulfur. So what exactly does air consist of?

  • nitrogen
  • oxygen
  • argon
  • carbon dioxide
  • neon
  • helium
  • methane
  • krypton
  • hydrogen
  • xenon

In the air, we can also distinguish mineral and organic suspensions, which include the mentioned dusts, but also, for example, plant spores.

How is inhaled air different from exhaled air?

The composition of exhaled air and inhaled air differ slightly from each other – mainly when it comes to the percentages of individual components.

We inhale:

  • nitrogen – 78%
  • oxygen-21%
  • other gases – 1%
  • carbon dioxide – 0.04%.

In turn, exhaled air contains:

  • nitrogen – 78%
  • oxygen – 17%
  • carbon dioxide – 4%
  • other gases – 1%.

Air – what should it not contain?

It is worth knowing that the air of many cities contains elements that should not be there. These are various dusts and pollutants that remain in it under favorable weather conditions, usually coming from human activities – that is, from factory chimneys, cars, furnaces where coal is still burned, etc. Pollutants that can be distinguished in such in the air, they are slightly different in different places. In general, however, it is indicated that smog consists of:

  • Sulphur dioxide
  • nitrogen dioxide
  • Carbon monoxide
  • benzene
  • ozone
  • fine dust PM2.5
  • PM10 fine dust, in which heavy metals such as lead, arsenic, nickel, cadmium and benzo (a) pyrene are also determined, which is a chemical compound composed of carbon and hydrogen.

All these ingredients are very harmful to human and animal health. They also have a negative effect on plants. These pollutants end up in our respiratory system, but not only damage it. They can also negatively affect the human circulatory system, leading to, among other things, cardiac arrhythmias, hypertension, and even sudden cardiac death. They can also influence the appearance of cancer – and these are just a few of the diseases they cause. Interestingly, pollutants also accumulate indoors, so we should check not only the cleanliness of the outside air, but also that in buildings. The simplified test uses the carbon dioxide content as a reference, but a more accurate one will take into account many other factors. It is worth knowing the composition of the air you breathe – if only to check whether a given area is suitable for permanent settlement.

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