CO2 builidup in moto helmets - BMW Luxury Touring Community
 
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post #1 of 19 Old Nov 13th, 2013, 10:06 am Thread Starter
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CO2 builidup in moto helmets

MyEleanor's post (re: passing out and crashing lately-see finally happened post) made me start thinking about CO2 buildup in moto helmets. I don't see much of a problem with CO2 buildup riding in the summer months because I know, for me, I'm either riding with my visor 1/2 up or full up. So, I'm always getting fresh air (I use the word "fresh" loosely). Even when I have my two piece helmet visor fully down and locked I always have a vent or two open when riding in the Summer. I have a Schuberth C3 helmet. But, now I'm wondering, in the Fall/Winter months, when it's cold, and the visor is full down and locked and all vents are closed whether CO2 accumulates to a level that may make you fatigued enough to fall asleep while riding. I do know when I ride for hours at a time on the Turnpike/Highway and my helmet is all buttoned up..I do get fatigued. Maybe MyEleanor didn't pass out, maybe he fell asleep due to CO2 buildup and THAT was responsible for the crash. Maybe the CO2 buildup mixed with CO buildup from some Harley he was following too closely (had to throw the HD bomb in there. . Even if CO buildup didn't cause him to fall a sleep I do know that CO buildup can cause blood pressure increases. Maybe blood pressure increase caused him to feel faint and causing him to pass out. I don't know..I'm just saying. Makes you wonder. I did a Google search and came up with this: http://www.s2is.org/issues/v4/n1/papers/paper10.pdf There is a paragraph in this paper that says THERE ARE known problems with CO2 buildup in Moto helmets. Food for thought.
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post #2 of 19 Old Nov 13th, 2013, 11:38 am
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

No. Non issue unless you're sitting in stopped traffic right behind a vehicle spewing straight at you with no airflow. Even then, millions of riders are in that situation every week with no problems.
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post #3 of 19 Old Nov 13th, 2013, 12:44 pm Thread Starter
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArchimedesRT
No. Non issue unless you're sitting in stopped traffic right behind a vehicle spewing straight at you with no airflow. Even then, millions of riders are in that situation every week with no problems.
Vehicles spewing straight at you is carbon monoxide (CO). I'm talking about carbon dioxide (CO2) buildup from your exhaled breathing air..which is oxygen deficient. I only mentioned CO in addition to CO2.
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post #4 of 19 Old Nov 13th, 2013, 1:20 pm
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

Archi nailed it.
Millions of riders over billions of miles have not produced any tangible evidence CO2 buildup in a helmet is a problem.

I recall an editorial some time back that touted this pseudo-science as rationale for wearing beanies rather than full helmets.

Any perceived additional fatigue experienced riding in cold weather is more likely due to the body consuming more energy to maintain core temperature and/or dehydration as most people don't think to hydrate as much when they don't feel themselves perspire, yet the body can lose just as much water or more when the air is cool and dry.

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post #5 of 19 Old Nov 13th, 2013, 2:03 pm
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

Also . I doubt you would fall asleep from high blood pressure. it is LOW blood pressure that makes folks pass out!

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post #6 of 19 Old Nov 13th, 2013, 2:56 pm Thread Starter
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

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Originally Posted by Atomicman
Also . I doubt you would fall asleep from high blood pressure. it is LOW blood pressure that makes folks pass out!
That would be an ignorant statement. You can pass out from too high or too low blood pressure.
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post #7 of 19 Old Nov 13th, 2013, 3:10 pm
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

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That would be an ignorant statement. You can pass out from too high or too low blood pressure.
Nice tactful response. Ass!

I respectfully disagree.

if your blood pressure was high enough to make you pass out, you would most likely have a stroke or heart attack before you fainted

I searched high and low and any authoritative source talks of low blood pressure and fainting

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post #8 of 19 Old Nov 13th, 2013, 3:31 pm
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

The guy could be hypoglycemic where his blood sugar was too low and he passed out.....though I am not a doctor I am sure I could play one on television and with a little more information, like age, weight and other underlying health conditions I could probably come up with a better diagnosis than CO2 build up in his helmet.......someone is putting too much belief in pseudoscience. I wish the man well but he would be wise to seek a complete physical.
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post #9 of 19 Old Nov 13th, 2013, 4:00 pm
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Candy_Apple
Vehicles spewing straight at you is carbon monoxide (CO). I'm talking about carbon dioxide (CO2) buildup from your exhaled breathing air..which is oxygen deficient. I only mentioned CO in addition to CO2.
Even less likely.
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post #10 of 19 Old Nov 13th, 2013, 4:03 pm
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

CO2 causes asphyxiation which means you pass out, therefore you loose consciousness by that means rather than falling asleep. The article you linked was about explosive ordinances disposal helmets which are a little different than moto helmets. A couple points to bear in mind:

1. Your helmet (at least if it's modern) is always venting because the air channels over the head in the EPS liner exhaust out the rear at the bottom, and there is no close off for that on any helmet I have ever seen. There will always be some air movement unless you are sitting still and there is no breeze.

2. CO2 is heavier than oxygen on the count of that little carbon molecule. Therefore it would have the natural tendency to fall out the bottom of your helmet which is open.

I think it is a real danger in gear like that described in the technical article where the head is basically in a sealed chamber, but in a motorcycle helmet I don't think it would really make much difference. The real danger is that you get asphyxiation without ever having the sensation of air depravation.

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post #11 of 19 Old Nov 13th, 2013, 4:28 pm
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

There's a REAL simple way to sovle this puzzle boys. Get yourself a pulse/ox meter and go for a ride. They're not that expensive.

http://www.amazon.com/Finger-Pulse-O...pulse+oximeter


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post #12 of 19 Old Nov 13th, 2013, 5:50 pm
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

Quote:
Originally Posted by moralem
The guy could be hypoglycemic where his blood sugar was too low and he passed out.....though I am not a doctor I am sure I could play one on television and with a little more information, like age, weight and other underlying health conditions I could probably come up with a better diagnosis than CO2 build up in his helmet.......someone is putting too much belief in pseudoscience. I wish the man well but he would be wise to seek a complete physical.
Sugar problems would show up on a blood test at the hospital and people with low blood sugar usually don't just wake up. My guess it's something else, but I am all for being surprised. I'd be interested to know if he was on any meds and his medical history. May be you and I could play doctors on TV together.

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post #13 of 19 Old Nov 14th, 2013, 3:01 am
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

Maybe it's not the CO2 buildup in the helmet that causes unconsciousness but the methane saturation in ones biker trousers, makes me want to pass out every time I take them off.

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post #14 of 19 Old Nov 14th, 2013, 9:19 am
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

Quote:
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Maybe it's not the CO2 buildup in the helmet that causes unconsciousness but the methane saturation in ones biker trousers, makes me want to pass out every time I take them off.

Whatever the cause, there is a simple fix. If you're feeling fatigued, stop and get off the bike. Walk around, hydrate, take a whiz, whatever. If you still feel fatigued, you're done riding today. Either stop for the night or have someone come get you. You can retrieve the bike later if needed. Putting yourself at risk just isn't worth it. Ken Meese has ridden more miles at one time than anyone I know and I've never heard of him being fatigued by anything other than hours in the saddle. I'm guessing CO2 buildup is grasping at straws.

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post #15 of 19 Old Nov 14th, 2013, 10:31 am
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

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Originally Posted by BennyBob

Whatever the cause, there is a simple fix. If you're feeling fatigued, stop and get off the bike. Walk around, hydrate, take a whiz, whatever. If you still feel fatigued, you're done riding today. Either stop for the night or have someone come get you. You can retrieve the bike later if needed. Putting yourself at risk just isn't worth it. Ken Meese has ridden more miles at one time than anyone I know and I've never heard of him being fatigued by anything other than hours in the saddle. I'm guessing CO2 buildup is grasping at straws.
Agreed with a caveat, if you are being asphyxiated by CO2 buildup you won't necessarily notice the onset of fatigue, or drowsiness etc, that is what makes it so dangerous. This is why the flight attendant says secure your mask first before the rug rats, you will fiddle with little johnny's mask and feel fine all along right up to the second you lose consciousness (of course in the de-pressurized airplane CO2 isn't causing the asphyxiation but lack of oxygen is lack of oxygen). I am in agreement that CO2 buildup is unlikely per my previous post.

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post #16 of 19 Old Nov 14th, 2013, 11:12 am
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

The CO2 concentration in the helmet would have to be around 10 %, which at that level can cause unconsciousness in a minute or less. It can however impair performance during prolonged exposure of 3 %. CO2 asphyxiation can increase the heart rate and blood pressure and cause headaches , dizziness,sweating, rapid breathing and shortness of breath along with visual disturbance so it all depends on the level of exposure. It is normally present in the atmosphere at about .035 % by volume. So with that all said it is possible if the concentrations are high enough. Is it likely, probably not. Maybe he was riding behind a CO2 delivery truck that was leaking CO2.......and they were below grade where CO2 being 1.5 times heavier than air settles. If he did have a high level of CO2 in his blood, a blood test at the hospital that checked his pH level could confirm it.
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post #17 of 19 Old Nov 14th, 2013, 11:54 am Thread Starter
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

If you go back and look at my original post, I used words like, "maybe", "I'm wondering", "I don't know", and "food for thought". I'm not an expert on the matter but I am an aviation physiologist and I know there are aviation related CO2 buildup issues (such as headaches, fatigue, faintness, etc.) when enclosing one's face with either a full-face helmet or respirator. That's why pulse oximeters are finding their way into military cockpits these days.

Having said all that, do I think that CO2 buildup was responsible for this guy fainting and falling off his moto and crashing? Probably not..but I don't think you can just rule it out as a possible contributing factor. Just my 2 cents.
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post #18 of 19 Old Nov 30th, 2013, 10:01 am
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

Aviation CO2 related issues are FAR more complex than a pilot breathing some CO2. cabin pressurization, g-suit operation or lack there of, hyperventilation, to name just a few.
Now the RT is quick maneuvering, but I ain't pulling many G's, not at low O2 altitudes, nor should one be hyperventilating while riding.
So no I don't believe CO2 played any part in his get off. There are DOZENS of things likely to have caused his passing out. I dare say almost everyone on this board has stood up and got dizzy momentarily. Explain that? And you were just as likely to pass out as stay awake. Stuff happens...
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post #19 of 19 Old Nov 30th, 2013, 10:14 am
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Re: CO2 builidup in moto helmets

Quote:
Originally Posted by Teach
Aviation CO2 related issues are FAR more complex than a pilot breathing some CO2. cabin pressurization, g-suit operation or lack there of, hyperventilation, to name just a few.
Now the RT is quick maneuvering, but I ain't pulling many G's, not at low O2 altitudes, nor should one be hyperventilating while riding.
So no I don't believe CO2 played any part in his get off. There are DOZENS of things likely to have caused his passing out. I dare say almost everyone on this board has stood up and got dizzy momentarily. Explain that? And you were just as likely to pass out as stay awake. Stuff happens...
Postural or orthostatic hypotension. It'll happen if someone is on too much blood pressure meds or if for some unknown reason the BP drops.

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