Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Oxygen and Human Requirements
Name: Ash
Status: other
Age: other
Location: PA
Country: N/A
Date: 12/13/2005

How much oxygen is needed to remain in the air before a person goes unconscious?

This would vary greatly depending upon the condition of the person.

The following site offers an approximation:

* 20.9-23.5 percent: Maximum permissible oxygen level. No effect.

* 20.9 percent: Percentage of oxygen found in normal air. No effect.

* 19.5 percent: Minimum permissible oxygen level. No effect.

* 15-19 percent: Decreased ability to work strenuously. May

impair coordination and may induce early symptoms with individuals that have coronary, pulmonary, or circulatory problems.

* 12-15 percent: Respiration and pulse increase; impaired coordination, perception, and judgment occurs.

* 10-12 percent: Respiration further increases in rate and depth; poor judgment and bluish lips occur.

* 8-10 percent: Symptoms include mental failure, fainting, unconsciousness, an ash-colored-face, blue lips, nausea, and vomiting.

* 6-8 percent: 8 minutes - 100 percent fatal; 6 minutes - 50 percent fatal; 4-5 minutes - recovery with treatment.

* 4-6 percent: Coma in 40 seconds, convulsions, respiration ceases - death.

Steve Sample

Click here to return to the Zoology Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (, or at Argonne's Educational Programs

Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory