Carbon: biological information

Carbon is key to life and by definition is present in all organic compounds. The study of life is known as biological chemistry or biochemistry. Ethene gas (C2H4) helps to ripen tomatoes.

Levels in humans

Table: the abundances of the elements in humans.
Human abundance by weight230000000 ppb by weight
Human abundance by atoms120000000 atoms relative to C = 1000000

How much carbon is in your body? Find out here.

You can use this form to calculate how much carbon your body contains. Enter your weight in either kilograms or pounds and click the "Calculate" button. You must enter a number, not text! Elements for which there are no data will always give a value of zero for the weight, no matter what you put in the weight box.

Calculate how much carbon is in your body
Enter your weight here: You contain about : grams of carbon

Hazards and Risks

Hazards and risks associated with carbon: carbon compounds show the full range of toxicities. Compounds such as CO (present in car exhausts) and CN- (cyanide, sometimes present in pollution from mining) are very toxic to mammals. Other carbon compounds are not toxic and indeed are required for life. Organic gases such as methane (CH4), ethene (CH2=CH2), and ethyne (HCCH) are dangerous as mixtures with air because of fire and explosion dangers.

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