Breathing air analysis EN12021

Breathing air analysis EN12021

Breathing air analysis EN12021

Contamination of compressed air for breathing air applications is a serious health risk. The quality of compressed air used in breathing apparatus is specified in the European standard EN12021: 2014

Air up to 40 bar for compressed air breathing apparatus must have a pressure dew point sufficiently low to prevent condensation and freezing. When operating and storing the device at a known temperature, the pressure dew point should be at least 5°C below the likely lowest temperature. If the conditions of use and storage of the compressed air supply are unknown, the pressure dew point should not exceed -11°C.

This leads directly to the conclusion that breathing apparatus, connected to a compressed air line network where the pressure dew point is not <+3°C (ISO 8573.1, Class 4; refrigeration dryer quality) cannot meet the standard!


The requirements according to EN12021:

  • Oxygen 21% ± 1%
  • Residual oil vapor - droplets or mist <0.5 mg/m³
  • Odor and taste neutral
  • Carbon dioxide < 500 ml/m³
  • Carbon monoxide < 5 ml/m³
  • Pressure dew point -11°

    The only way to check if your air supply is suitable for breathing is to test regularly. All test reports must be kept for at least 5 years.

Global standards for breathing air quality

UK & Europe

United States




CGA7.1 / OSHA Grade D


Lowest pressure dewpoint


Depending on application

< 5◦C lowest syst. temp.

Max. restoil damp

0,01 mg/m³

5 mg/m³


Taste & odor




Allowable O² level

21% ± 1%

19,5 ~ 23,5%

20 tot 22%

Allowable CO level

< 5 ppm

10 ppm

< 5 ppm

Allowable CO² level

< 500 ppm

1000 ppm

< 600 ppm