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Updated: 03/14/2014 08:06:11AM

Myths about nitrox

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By Capt. Dan Sansiveri

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Aboard our dive boat and in our shop we encounter a lot of questions and misunderstanding of nitrox diving, even from some who are trained to dive with nitrox. This article will hopefully address some of the common misunderstandings and the benefits of enriched air.

In reality, we live in a nitrox environment, that is the air that surrounds us is nitrox — a mixture of nitrogen and oxygen. The exact formulation of our atmosphere is 79 percent nitrogen, 20.9 percent oxygen and some inert trace gases. The diving gas that is called nitrox is more correctly called enriched air nitrox. To make EAN, dive shops or other providers change the composition of the air that is put in our dive cylinders by increasing (enriching) the amount of oxygen, thereby reducing the amount of nitrogen in the mix. I’ll say more about this process later, but first some history.

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