There is a lot known about carbon dioxide (CO2) in its natural form as it exists in the Earth’s atmosphere as a trace gas. We know that as human beings we need this colourless, odorless gas to live and breathe.
But you might not know, it’s also used in a commercially manufactured form in many products and services we use and see everyday.
He said, “It’s amazing the variety of items which include CO2 in their manufacturing process, which you would never even think of. I hope the list below not only interests and informs people, but you never know it could also provide them with an answer at a pub quiz!”
- Aerated Chocolate
There are some well known brands who are famous for their smooth bubbly textured chocolate, but have you ever wondered how they get the bubbles actually into the chocolate bar? The process was invented by Rowntree’s where during manufacturing the fluid chocolate is foamed with a ‘propellant’, a gas which reacts with the mass to cause bubbles. Carbon dioxide is often used for this as oxygen speeds up rancidification, reducing shelf life and potentially leaving an unpleasant taste.
These scrummy little baked goods are packed in a protective atmosphere using CO2. The gas produces an atmosphere to help reduce moisture levels, keeping the product fresher for longer. You may have been surprised (or worried if they’re your favourite snack!) to hear that production had significantly decreased earlier this summer due to the UK and parts of Europe CO2 shortage.
- Marijuana cultivation
In countries where the cultivation of cannabis is illegal, this may never need to be discussed but in countries like The United States, where the legalisation of cannabis is becoming more common, there is now a focus on the quality of the product. In legal grow houses the atmosphere the plants are grown in is a meticulously controlled and monitored environment. CO2 is used to ‘enrich’ the atmosphere to enhance the performance of the plants including increased growth, reduced damage caused by air pollutants and increases the plants resistance to environmental factors. It’s the same theory behind the use of CO2 in greenhouses producing vegetables such as tomatoes, just for a slightly more controversial product!
CO2 is used to kill farm animals, as its portrayed as the more humane way, gas systems are increasingly being used for the killing of poultry and are referred to under The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) Regulations 1995 (WASK ’95)(as amended). CAS (Controlled Atmosphere Stunning) includes the use of carbon dioxide with any mixture of argon, nitrogen or other inert gases with a maximum of 2% oxygen by volume, provided that the carbon dioxide does not exceed 30%. The gas is also used in the packaging of meat to prolong the freshness when sealed.
- Fizzy drinks
This may be an obvious one, but what may not be obvious is that the majority of fizzy drinks actually arrive at the restaurant, bar or pub without any fizz at all. The flavored syrups are delivered in bags or boxes and are carbonated using CO2 on site via a beverage dispensing system. So your soda has been freshly ‘fizzed’ while you were waiting!
Paul Kimberley continued, “Although you may not have known that CO2 is used in all these applications the risks associated with a leak, remains the same whatever you’re using it for. Just a small increase of the unidentifiable gas can start to have an adverse effect on the human body.
“Regulations and some laws already mandate you must have a gas detection monitor with audible and visual alarms, if you’re using and storing CO2. These include Safe Work In Confined Spaces (2014), HSE Confined Spaces Regulations (1997), EH40 (2011, 2005) and Health and Safety at Work etc Act (1974).
US regulations such as NFPA 55 (2016), IFC 2018, NBIC 2017 and OSHA, permissible exposure limits (1970) help to protect those working in an environment exposed to a low level of CO2, but for a long time, under their Time Weighted Average (TWA) recommendation clause.
“I hope by raising the profile of some areas where CO2 might not have been widely known to be used, we also highlight the wide range of potentially dangerous environments, which can become deadly if left undetected. A CO2 gas safety monitor, which are quick and easy to install, will help to ensure the safety of all personnel, and quickly alert the users to any preventable incidents which may impact production and ultimately profit.”
For more information on Point Safety and their services please visit www.gasmonitor-point.com