Humans may be contributing to global warming by breathing, study finds

19 December 2023, 23:08

Do you breathe? You may be contributing to global warming
Do you breathe? You may be contributing to global warming. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Humans may be contributing to global warming by breathing, a study has found.

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"Exhaled human breath can contain small, elevated concentrations of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), both of which contribute to global warming," a study published in the PLOS journal found last week.

According to the study, the methane and nitrous oxide exhaled by human being make up around 0.1 per cent of the UK's emissions.

This is in addition to the carbon dioxide the humans exhale, the study added.

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It involved 104 adults from the UK.

"We report only emissions in breath in this study, and flatus emissions are likely to increase these values significantly, though no literature characterizes these emissions for people in the UK," the study said.

“Assuming that livestock and other wild animals also exhale emissions of N2O, there may still be a small but significant unaccounted-for source of N2O emissions in the UK, which could account for more than 1% of national-scale emissions,” it added.

The study also found no link between exhaled gases and diet.

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