It has long been assumed that the red cell membrane is highly permeable to gases because the molecules of gases are small, uncharged, and soluble in lipids, such as those of a bilayer. The disappearance of 12C18O16O from a red cell suspension as the 18O exchanges between labeled CO2 + HCO3− and unlabeled HOH provides a measure of the carbonic anhydrase (CA) activity (acceleration, or A) inside the cell and of the membrane self-exchange permeability to HCO3− (Pm,HCO−3). To test this technique, we added sufficient 4,4′-diisothiocyanato-stilbene-2,2′-disulfonate (DIDS) to inhibit all the HCO3−/Cl− transport protein (Band III or capnophorin) in a red cell suspension. We found that DIDS reduced Pm,HCO−3 as expected, but also appeared to reduce intracellular A, although separate experiments showed it has no effect on CA activity in homogenous solution. A decrease in Pm,CO2 would explain this finding. With a more advanced computational model, which solves for CA activity and membrane permeabilities to both CO2 and HCO3−, we found that DIDS inhibited both Pm,HCO−3 and Pm,CO2, whereas intracellular CA activity remained unchanged. The mechanism by which DIDS reduces CO2 permeability may not be through an action on the lipid bilayer itself, but rather on a membrane transport protein, implying that this is a normal route for at least part of red cell CO2 exchange.