What do we breathe?

OK, so I know that we breathe oxygen and nitrogen. I know that nitrogen takes up about 79% of the air. I know that oxygen by itself is a poison. What I want to know is: which gasses do we normally breathe, and what is the percentage of each that we breathe so that we aren't poisoned?

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Burf7 years ago
Composition of Air:

78.08% N2
20.95% O2
0.93% Ar
0.03% CO2
0.002% Ne
Plus trace amounts of Methane, Helium, Krypton, Hydrogen, Xenon

A-Nony-Mus (author)  Burf7 years ago
If you were to get pure nitrogen, would it naturally occur as N2?
The Ar content is much higher on talk like a pirate day however.
Re-design7 years ago
Speaking of farts, check out this link for a toy patent.
A-Nony-Mus (author)  Re-design7 years ago
that's disgusting, but it's probably going to be a big hit.
I agree!
Kiteman7 years ago
"If you were to get pure nitrogen, would it naturally occur as N2?"

Yes. That is the molecular formula for nitrogen gas.

If nitrogen is N2, what is N? Can nitrogen exist as N?
It's OK. I found my answer. I initially googled it but asked the wrong question. I've since found that molecular nitrogen is the gas we know, made up of 2 isotopes, nitrogen-14 and nitrogen-15.
Please correct this if I am wrong, otherwise, sorry if I've wasted your time.
Well I've just looked up some more stuff (atomic number, weight, etc.)and realised that I'm filling my head with so much useless info, that I've had to push out some stuff to make room, and now I've forgotten how to drive.
I might just stick to breathing.
I hate it when it gets to where you have to forget something to learn something new. I need a memory upgrade.
A-Nony-Mus (author)  caarntedd7 years ago
It's okay, as long as your question has to do with the topic (which it does), you are not wasting anyone's time.
Re-design7 years ago
Depends on the location.  In a classroom with mostly boys you also add to the mix large quantities of added gas composed of mainly

Commonly known as a fart.

Girls fart too. At least after you marry them.
lemonie7 years ago

Oxygen doesn't kill you because it's normally bound to iron (oxy-heamoglobin is not the same at all).
Too much is bad, read this:
N2 does occur naturally, but it can be bought as compressed-gas or liquefied.

blkhawk7 years ago

Oxygen itself is not toxic but an atmosphere of pure oxygen would create a number of problems like everything igniting in flames. Oxygen in nature is usually present like this: O2. Another form of ionized oxygen: ozone (O3) does damage internal lung tissues and it is very toxic.
Oxygen isn't toxic - normally ! We need it to work.

Oxygen at a higher partial pressure than we have now tends to be toxic.

Pure oxygen cannot be breathed above about 4 PSI, the partial pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere, without the extra oxidation producing serious problems.

A cursory wikipedia search would yield http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oxygen_toxicity