The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is aware of the potential toxicological hazards to crew members that might be associated with prolonged spacecraft missions. Despite major engineering advances in controlling the atmosphere within spacecraft, some contamination of the air appears inevitable. NASA has measured numerous airborne contaminants during space missions. As the missions increase in duration and complexity, ensuring the health and well-being of astronauts traveling and working in this unique environment becomes increasingly difficult.
As part of its efforts to promote safe conditions aboard spacecraft, NASA requested the National Research Council (NRC) to develop guidelines for establishing spacecraft maximum allowable concentrations (SMACs) for contaminants, and to review SMACs for various spacecraft contaminants to determine whether NASA's recommended exposure limits are consistent with the guidelines recommended by the subcommittee. In response to this request, the NRC first developed criteria and methods for preparing SMACs for spacecraft contaminants, published in its 1992 report Guidelines for Developing Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentrations for Space Station Contaminants. Since then, the NRC's Subcommittee on Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentrations has been reviewing NASA's documentation of chemical-specific SMACs. This report is the fourth volume in the series Spacecraft Maximum Allowable Concentrations for Space Station Contaminants. The first volume was published in 1994 and the second and third in 1996.
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their technical expertise and diverse perspectives in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC's Report Review Committee for reviewing NRC and Institute of Medicine reports. The purpose of that Independent review was to provide candid and critical comments to assist the NRC in making the published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process.