Aircraft Cabin Air Quality Trends Relative to Ground Level Standards

  • James E. Cone
Part of the The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry book series (HEC, volume 4H)


Aircraft cabin air quality has attracted much attention, summarized recently by a detailed examination and commentary by a U.S. National Academy of Sciences Committee. Ventilation of aircraft has several significant variables that require control measures that are seldom of concern for occupied space at ground level. The principal of these special requirements are the need to compensate for the substantial difference between cabin and outside pressures, the much lower available space per occupant in aircraft cabins, and the need for coping with more extreme external temperatures than are common at ground level. The breadth of these concerns is of interest in the policies and regulatory aspects of a number of agencies which are briefly described, and their roles and areas of potential interest outlined. Types of possible contaminants are listed, and the limits which have been set by several of these agencies for many of these potential contaminants are tabulated. In addition recent measured aircraft cabin concentrations of several key contaminants are listed. This chapter provides an overview of the general air quality variables affecting enclosed space to enable these to be related to the special needs of some of the less common enclosed spaces described in the following chapters.

Air contaminants Gases Vapors Aerosols Particulates Physical parameters Infective agents  



American conference of governmental industrial hygienists


American society for heating, refrigeration and air conditioning engineers


colony-forming unit


environmental control system


U.S. environmental protection agency


federal aviation act


federal aviation regulation


high efficiency particulate air [filter]


manufacturer(s) safety data sheet


national ambient air quality standard


national academy of sciences


national advisory committee on occupational safety and health


national aeronautics and space administration


national research council


US occupational safety and health act


permissible exposure limits


severe acute respiratory syndrome


submarine escape action levels


spacecraft maximum allowable concentrations


short term exposure level


threshold limit value


time weighted average


volatile organic compounds


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Authors and Affiliations

  • James E. Cone
    • 1
  1. 1.Environmental and Occupational Disease EpidemiologyNew York City Department of Health and Mental HygieneNew YorkUSA

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