Breathing Pure Oxygen
Could humans breath (survive) in at
atmosphere containing pure oxigen?
Yes they could...for a while and then they would begin suffering from oxygen
toxicity which causes a number of serious problems not the least which are
some pretty serious neurological damage.
Sure. At normal atmospheric pressure, it's fairly dangerous, as ordinary
substances such as clothing become extremely flammable under those
conditions. In the short term, the human body has no problems with a high
concentration of oxygen. In fact, exposure to elevated oxygen pressures is
sometimes even used as a treatment for some diseases, such as gangrene.
Over the long term, some tissues may suffer oxidative damage. I don't
really know what the long-term health effects are, though.
Richard E. Barrans Jr., Ph.D.
PG Research Foundation, Darien, Illinois
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Update: June 2012