Breathing air in the compressed form, such as that used by divers, but also by firefighters in action, has to meet limit values for chemical components such as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon monoxide or carbon dioxide as well as requirements for water and oil content.
The exact limit values are described in DIN EN 12021: 2014-07 and briefly clarified in the table below.
Breathing air Norm DIN EN 12021: 2014-07
Oxygen content (O2)
21 % ± 1 %
Carbon monixide content (CO)
Carbon dioxide content (CO2)
Water content (H2O)
If these limit values are not adhered to, considerable damage to life and physical condition can result. For example, too high a moisture content in the press / compressed air bottles can lead to the following:
Corrosion in the breathing air cylinders
The breathing air cylinder can be damaged by creeping rust without noticing it. Unintentional accidents can occur due to malfunctions when using damaged bottles. Inhaling corrosive components is also harmful to health, so creeping personal injury can occur even without a malfunction.
Breeding ground for mold or other harmful bacteria
Too much moisture promotes the growth of mold or bacteria. Inhaling these can lead to pneumonia and other serious diseases.
Ice formation at low temperatures
During extreme diving in waters with temperatures close to freezing point, ice formation in breathing air cylinders can lead to dangerous situations. If the bottle outlet freezes underwater, it can lead to death in the worst case.
Too high oil content in pressurized / compressed air cylinders
Oil aerosols and particles: In addition to permanent breathing difficulties, inhaling oil mist can, in the worst case, lead to cancer. Aerosols also usually contain the smallest metal particles, which do not favor the situation.
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