Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) Carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in 50 percent of the department stores and shopping malls in the Greater Taipei area have exceeded the acceptable level of 1,000 parts per million (ppm) , according to a survey released by the Consumers' Foundation Tuesday.
The survey, conducted between Dec. 20 and Dec.21, found that CO2 levels in the National Palace Museum, Shin Kong Mitsukoshi Department Store's Taipei Train Station store, and the Taipei World Trade Center Hall 3 were detected to be among the highest, all exceeding 1,501 ppm.
Levels of CO2 in the Pacific Sogo Department Store's Jhongsiao store, the Guang Hua Digital Plaza, and Taipei's largest underground mall--the Taipei City Mall--as well as the National Museum of History stood between 1,000 ppm and 1,500 ppm.
According to the Environmental Protection Administration's (EPA) recommendations, the average concentrations of indoor CO2 over an eight-hour period should be maintained at or below 1,000 ppm.
High occupancy density, improper utilization of air-conditioning systems, and poor air circulation or ventilation are among the reasons why concentrations in many indoor spaces in Taiwan are higher than acceptable, according to the EPA. Those indoor spaces include office buildings, department stores, movie theaters, restaurants, shopping centers, public transport stations, cars, boats, and airplanes.
Since people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, it is important to do everything possible to maintain the quality of indoor air, the EPA said.
If indoor CO2 levels rise above 800 ppm, many people would feel uncomfortable, dizzy, weak and have headaches, according to the Consumers' Foundation's Deputy Secretary-General Wu Chia-cheng.
Once the concentrations are above 1,000 ppm, it would probably have an adverse effect on people's respiratory and brain functions and circulatory systems, Wu said.
On Monday, the Legislative Yuan reviewed a draft bill on indoor air quality management, which stipulates that environmental agencies can conduct unscheduled inspections of indoor public places and request those who fail to meet standards to make improvements before giving a deadline.
Those failing to make improvements could be fined NT$50,000 to NT$250,000, or face the risk of being banned from using public spaces or being ordered to halt their business.
The bill was approve by the Executive Yuan on Oct. 15 this year and is pending legislative approval.
(By Y.L. Kao)