Carbon dioxide is a by-product of combustion and a by-product of the metabolic process (process of producing energy from the break down of food molecules) in living organisms, including humans. Because carbon dioxide is a by-product of human metabolism, carbon dioxide concentrations within a building often are used to indicate whether adequate fresh air is being supplied to the building.
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Moderate to high levels of carbon dioxide can cause headaches and fatigue. Higher concentrations can produce nausea, dizziness and vomiting. Loss of consciousness can occur at extremely high concentrations. Symptoms caused by this pollutant occur because as carbon dioxide levels increase, oxygen levels decrease, thereby reducing the flow of oxygen to the brain. To prevent or reduce high concentrations of carbon dioxide in a building or room, fresh air should be supplied to the area.