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Linda_Owl's avatar

Are you aware that science has produced a study that says that the carbon levels in big cities actually acts as a stress reducer on people who live in these cities?

Asked by Linda_Owl (7728points) November 12th, 2011

A study coming out of Israel has found that exposure to carbon monoxide in the air of big cities actually has a “calming” effect on the people who live in these big cities? I wonder if this could be the reason that so many people do not grasp the reality of Global Warming? Could it be that they are suffering from a build-up of carbon monoxide in their brains? The link I put at the start of this explanation is a link to the results of the study.

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10 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

I wasn’t aware and the findings are quite fascinating. I would like to read the whole paper to see the methodology. It certainly is a quite different result to the findings you would expect.

augustlan's avatar

It kind of makes sense that carbon monoxide would have a calming effect, like anesthesia. I don’t know that I care for the idea, though! On the whole, I’d probably rather live somewhere less stressful in the first place, and with cleaner air, too. :)

marinelife's avatar


zenvelo's avatar

It sounds like everyone is in a stupor rather than being calmed. I wonder if in Israel people make Tel Aviv jokes, like, in Tel Aviv how many people does it take to change a light bulb?*

* huh? the light bulb needs changing?

lillycoyote's avatar

What the article fails to mention is that the carbon monoxide is having a “calming” effect on people for a particular reason, and it is not having a narcotic effect. Carbon monoxide kills, not in the way that poisons and other things do, when they get in your body, but by displacing the the oxygen in your blood stream, in your brain. Those city dwellers are calmer because their brains are being starved of oxygen. I don’t see that as a particularly good way to handle the stress of urban life. Though stress can have very negative effects on your physical health, to say maybe it’s not as bad for you as once thought, because you’re calmer because your brain isn’t getting enough oxygen doesn’t really seem like the right conclusion to draw from the study, which I haven’t read, but that is the way CO works.

tinyfaery's avatar

Huh. Maybe that’s why I feel anxious and unsettled in small towns. However, the forests clear my head and lift my spirits.

sneezedisease's avatar

“Could it be that they are suffering from a build-up of carbon monoxide in their brains?”

cazzie's avatar

I always knew you’d have to be partially brain dead to live in those big cities. (she said as she looks over the 180 degree view of the fjord, watching for the sea eagle that has been hanging around.)

Linda_Owl's avatar

Ah, @cazzie , if only more of us could live where we could breathe deeply of clean air & view marvelous vistas like the one your posting indicates – but, alas, far too many of us are very firmly anchored in our big cities by the need to be able to support ourselves & to be able to visit with our families.

cazzie's avatar

The city I lived in last year has one of the worst air quality tests in Europe. It happens during our winter months. Any time I got a cough or cold, it got really bad. The particulates in the air often exceeded WHO guidelines. Hubby’s job is based in that city, but he flies out for about half the year, a week here, two weeks there… a month somewhere else, so we moved to a lovely suburb closer to the airport. Better school, better neighbourhood, better air quality, better view, lower house prices.

I can only hope that people get educated about their environment and try to improve it. I love visiting big cities. So much to offer, but I couldn’t live there.

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