In the mid-2000s, William Fisk, a senior scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, stumbled upon two obscure Hungarian studies that challenged common assumptions about the air indoors. The studies suggested that, even at relatively low levels, carbon dioxide could impair how well people thought and worked.
Fisk, an indoor–air quality expert who led the UC Berkeley Lab’s Indoor Environment Group, searched for other studies on the topic. He found none that had examined the health effects of CO2, the gas we exhale, below ultrahigh levels. “There was no quality research. It got to be a dogma that there are no effects below these high concentrations,” he said.
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