A wide range of gases are used in laboratories for example, oxygen, nitrogen, helium and argon. However, a widely used gas in the laboratory industry is carbon dioxide (CO2).
CO2 applications in the laboratory
CO2 is used in laboratories for cryogenic applications, gas chromatography and most commonly CO2 incubators.
CO2 incubators are mainly used in biological and life science laboratories as they give researchers the ability to replicate a cells natural environment and provides sterile conditions for cells to grow in a completely germ free surrounding. An incubator ensures that there is a controlled environment, completely sealed off and unable to be affected by external factors.
Labs and clinics tend to keep levels of CO2 between 3-7% based on their study and application, the CO2 level is crucial for cell cultivation. Due to this, many laboratory technicians follow a strict process of monitoring levels of CO2 in the incubator, however, they must think about personal safety too!
CO2 Safety in Laboratories
Most laboratories store CO2 for incubators and other applications, the gas is usually kept onsite in cylinders and is sometimes transported using a piped network depending on the application. Like any other facility, laboratories are still at risk of a dangerous CO2 leak if they store large quantities of the gas onsite.
Although CO2 exists naturally in air, even just a small increase in levels such as 0.5% can start to have negative effects on the human body. Depending where you are in the world, it is likely that there are local regulations in place that you must follow regarding workplace CO2 exposure limits.
If you use CO2 in your laboratory, it is recommended that you install a CO2 detection system in areas where CO2 is being stored or rooms that may have CO2 passing through them e.g. through a piped network. This will ensure that you’re keeping yourself and employees safe, and compliant with local legislation.