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Aerospace Medicine Technical Reports

FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine
Civil Aerospace Medical Institute

Report No: DOT/FAA/AM-15/20

Title and Subtitle: Aircraft Cabin Bleed Air Contaminants: A Review

Report Date: November 2015

Authors: Day GA

Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to describe potential health-related risks surrounding human exposure to bleed air contaminants generated during "fume events" inside pressurized aircraft. Information was obtained from available literature primarily in regard to carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ozone, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, and airborne particles.

The quality of air distributed throughout the cockpit and cabin during air transportation in a pressurized aircraft is critically important to human health. Since 1984, public law in the United States has directed research in cabin air quality, including investigation of health risks among individuals exposed to toxic fumes during flight.

Quantification of the potential health risks associated with exposure to bleed-air contaminants in cabin air is not possible without broad identification and measurement of the representative hazardous constituents of bleed air during contaminated air events. Such broad identification and measurement does not exist. Included in Public Law 112-95 is the directive to assess bleed air quality on the full range of commercial aircraft operating in the United States. Carrying out such a mandate requires adequate funding to support required research.

Key Words: Bleed Air, Bleed Air Contaminants, Cabin Air Quality, Fumes, Toxic Fumes, Toxic Fume Events

No. of Pages: 11

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