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5 CABIN AIR POLLUTANTS: SOURCES AND EXPOSURES Little is known about the environment in the passenger cabins of commercial aircraft under routine flight conditions, and what is known is limited in scope. Relationships among source strengths of pollutants, physical factors (such as ventilation rates and operating modes), occupancy loads, and activities (such as eating and smoking) have not been systematically studied. Lacking a repository of the existing information, the Committee searched the published literature to obtain relevant material on pollutants known to be potentially hazardous or to cause acute irritation and on physical factors that affect comfort. On the basis of the results of the searches, this chapter discusses ozone, cosmic radiation, ground fumes, tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide, biologic aerosols, relative humidity, cabin pressure, carbon dioxide, volatile organic chemicals, and pesticides. OZONE OZONE IN COMMERCIAL AIRCRAFT CABINS Ozone is present in the atmosphere as a consequence of the photochemical conversion of oxygen by solar ultraviolet radiation. A marked and progressive increase in ozone concentration occurs between the tropopause and the stratosphere--i.e., it occurs within the flight altitude of commercial aircraft. The mean ambient ozone concentration increases with increasing latitude, is maximal during spring, and often varies with weather systems to result in high ozone plumes descending down to lower altitudes. 113

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114 In the early 1960s, R. I. Brabets et al.24 established that Jet aircraft operating in the stratosphere encountered ozone and that it was only partially removed from the internal environment of the aircraft by the compression-ventilation system. In response to these findings, the Global Atmospheric Sampling Program (GASP), started by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration in 1977, measured ozone concentrations in the cabins of two commercially operated aircraft. In 1980, Nastrom et al.107 reported that over 5,600 observations were made in this project in a B-747-100 and a B-747-SP. The ozone concentrations measured in the outside air and in the cabin of an unmodified B-747-SP are shown in Figure 5-1. boon 800 ~2 C 600 of o z CD <( 400 200 o 0' e',' 0 '0 0 o 200 400 ATMOSPHERIC OZONE, ppb / O 0: ~007 ~ O o O 0 OOo8 ~ ooze ~ 0 a ~0 Q)~e 6E o or 1 1 1 1 1 1 600 800 1,000 o FIGURE 5-1 Correlation (slope, 0.82) of cabin with atmospheric ozone mixing ratios. Data were obtained during April, May, and June 1977 before changes were made in B-747-SP air circulation system. Squares show data taken in April. Reprinted from Perkins et al.ll 4

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115 Crew members' and passengers' complaints of physical discomfort on high-altitude flights led the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to begin to collect information on possible causes.159 In 1977, the agency took five steps to investigate further whether ozone was the pollutant responsible for the complaints: It published an advisory circular that defined ozone irritation, discussed its cause and symptoms, and described means of dealing with it.l59 It initiated a research project in the Civil Aeromedical Institute to study the health effects of exposure to ozone in the aviation environment. It issued Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking No. 77-22 to seek information concerning ozone. i57 . It initiated a project to measure the constituents of the upper atmosphere. It initiated a study of available data on ozone concentrations at flight altitudes to provide an estimate of average atmospheric ozone at flight altitudes. On the basis of these efforts, FAA established a standard for cabin ozone concentration. 31 The Code of Federal Regulations of January 1, 1985, stated the following: "The airplane cabin ozone concentration during flight must be shown not to exceed 0.25 ppm, sea level equivalent, at any time above flight level 320 [32,000 ft at standard atmosphere]; or 0.10 ppmv during any 3-hour interval above flight level 270 [27,000 ft at standard atmosphere]." HEALTH EFFECTS OF OZONE UNDER HIGH-ALTITUDE CONDITIONS The following text discusses several experimental studies involving humans. See Chapter 6 for discussion of findings on human exposure and resulting effects during flight. Toxic effects of ozone on the respiratory system have been investigated in numerous human studies involving controlled exposures to ozone at concentrations observed in community air., 56 The characteristic odor

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116 of ozone can be detected by some people exposed to it at concentrations as low as 0.001 ppm.~43 This may be important because of perception of exposure. The threshold varies among individuals, but most people can detect ozone at 0.02 ppm. Controlled human studies have reported respiratory symptoms and significant decrements in pulmonary function associated with ozone exposure. The severity of reported symptoms generally parallels the observed impairment in pulmonary function. Symptoms include cough, upper airway irritation, tickle in the throat, chest discomfort, substantial pain or soreness, difficulty or pain in taking a deep breath, shortness of breath, wheezing, headache, fatigue, nasal congestion, and eye irritation. Cough is the symptom most strongly correlated with the decrement in pulmonary function. These symptoms and the alteration in pulmonary function usually disappear soon after the termination of the exposure. Some subjects have reported persistence of changes in excess of 24 h, but most disappear within 2-4 h. If exposure is repeated within 24-48 h, pulmonary function decrements are markedly greater. 6 5 Studies in environmental chambers using at-rest (i.e., no-exercise) exposures to ozone have shown that ambient ozone at 0.5 ppm or more induces significant decrements in pulmonary function. 66 Impairment in pulmonary function occurs at much lower ambient concentrations of ozone if subjects are exercising. Subjects engaged in light exercise (ventilation, approximately 20-25 L/min) had significant pulmonary function decrements when ozone was present at 0.37 ppm. In persons exercising moderately to heavily (26-40 L/min), pulmonary decrements have been observed during exposures at 0~14-0-18 ppm. 5 0 ~ ~ ~ 7 Lategola and associates attempted more quantitative evaluation of problems associated with ozone exposures of flight attendants and passengers. Lategola et al. 85 exposed 55 young subjects (29 men and 26 women) to ambient air and to an ozone environment in an altitude chamber maintained at 1,829 m (6,000 ft). Subjects served as their own controls in each experiment. Two major experiments were conducted on 27 subjects (15 men and 12 women) and 28 subjects (14 men and 14 women).

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117 In the first experiment, ozone concentrations* were O and 315 ~g/m3 (0.0 and 0.2 ppm), exposure time was 4 h (with four 10-min exercise periods, the first three at lower levels of activity and the fourth at a higher level), and pulmonary function and subjective evaluations were noted before and after exposure. Pulmonary function and subjective responses were recorded near sea level before and 10 min after the altitude exposures. Other studies--on vision, hand steadiness, and memory--were conducted during the high-altitude exposures. Men exercised at ventilation of 20 L/min in the first three exercise periods and 30 L/min in the last period, Just before descent; women exercised at 13 and 17 L/min, respectively. No alterations in measured pulmonary functions were found; although slight discomfort was reported, it was not significantly related to ozone exposure. In the second experiment, the ozone concentration was 475 ~g/m3 (0.3 ppm), and only three exercise periods were used. Men exercised at 24.9 L/min in the first two periods and 38.6 L/min in the last, and women at 16.4 and 20.9 L/min, respectively. Significantly greater symptom scores were found after the last exercise period and after termination of the experiment. In this experiment, differences between the no-ozone and ozone responses in all spirometry measures-- forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume (FEV1), and forced expiratory flow (FEF25_75% and FEF75_95~0~--in each sex group were statistically significant (n < 0.05~. The two lung-volume measures manifested smaller changes than did flow-rate measures. Symptom scores were greater in men than in women during the last exercise (treadmill) period, but the difference was not statistically significant. The results indicate increased symptoms and pulmonary function decrements among normal subjects at 0.3 ppm, but not at 0.2 ppm with light exercise. * Note that, as ambient pressure decreases at high altitude, ozone concentration remains the same when expressed in parts per million, but decreases in proportion to increasing altitude when expressed in micrograms per cubic meter. Therefore, knowledge of atmospheric pressure and temperature is generally needed for correct conversion of ppm readings to ~g/m3 concentrations.

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118 Lategola et al.86 also studied 40 middle-aged men-- 20 smokers and 20 nonsmokers--exposed in an altitude chamber (1,829 m) while resting for 3 h in environments containing ozone at O or 475 ~g/m3 (0.0 or O.3 ppm). Eye discomfort was the most frequently reported symptom; headache and nose and throat irritation were also reported. All subjects combined manifested small but statistically significant decrements in FVC, FEV1, and FEF7s_95%, primarily owing to changes in the nonsmoking group. Smokers reported fewer or less severe symptoms, in confirmation of observations reported by others. The study tended to confirm small but significant respiratory effects at 0.3 ppm among nonsmoking normal adults under high-altitude conditions. The ozone concentrations used in the Lategola et al. studier were, however, generally lower than those reported to occur in some aircraft at high altitudes. Determination of the effects of known aircraft cabin ozone concentrations on passengers and flight attendants will require additional information from studies conducted on board, as well as immediately after flights, with continuous measurements of the cabin environment. GROUPS AT INCREASED RISK OF HEALTH EFFECTS Epidemiologic investigations of high-risk groups have played a predominant role in the development of the current ambient air quality standard for ozone. As far back as 1961, Schoettlin and Landau1 3 5 studied 137 asthmatics in the Los Angeles basin during a 3-mo period when high oxidant concentrations due to smog were anticipated. They found a statistically significant increase in the number of mild attacks when peak oxidant concentrations exceeded 0.25 ppm. A further assessment by Heuss et al.59 associated these asthmatic attacks with hourly average concentrations as low as O.lS ppm. They concluded that, when the ozone concentration is 0.15 ppm, there is a loo chance of a 5% increase in asthmatic attacks. Barth et al. 2 ~ extrapolated these data and concluded that there "is a likelihood of an increased asthmatic attack incidence for very sensitive patients at levels well below 0.15 ppm rather than Just a chance of a small increase in attacks at the 0.15 ppm level."

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119 RECOMMENDATIONS Chapter 3 pointed out that the federal regulations concerning aircraft cabin ozone concentrations may be complied with either through the use of air treatment equipment (usually a catalytic converter) or through the choice of routes and altitudes that avoid areas of high ozone concentration. Ozone concentrations in aircraft depend also on latitude, not only on altitude. In 1978-1979, FAA monitored ozone on flights (mostly at 30,000-40,000 ft) and found that lie were in violation of FAA's ozone concentration limits. i23 Because catalytic converters are subject to contamination and loss of efficiency, it is suggested that FAA establish policies for periodic removal and testing, so that the effective life of these units can be established. A program of monitoring is needed, to establish compliance with the existing standard and to determine whether the catalytic converters are operating normally and effectively. These data should be maintained in such a manner that they can be used for reference on Passenger and crew exposures to ozone and to document the concentrations of ozone. COSMIC RADIATION We are exposed to ionizing radiation from several sources. Some is natural, such as cosmic radiation and terrestrial radiation, and some is from man-made sources, such as medical x rays, radioisotope drugs, nuclear fallout, nuclear power-plant emission, uranium and phosphate mine tailings, and nuclear waste materials. The question before the Committee is whether the incremental exposure of passengers and crew of commercial subsonic aircraft results in an unacceptable risk. CHARACTERISTICS OF COSMIC RADIATION Cosmic radiation is both solar and galactic in origin. Galactic radiation is composed of protons (87%), alpha particles (11%), a few nuclei with atomic number of 3 or more (approximately 1%), and electrons at energies up to 102 eV (approximately 1%~. The normative range of energies is 108-1011 eV. The sun generates a continuous flux of lower-energy (approximately 103 eV)

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12G charged particles, and occasional solar magnetic disturbances generate large quantities of particles with energies up to several billion electron volts; the typical range is 1-100 MeV. The integrated flux of solar particles with energies of 20 MeV or more to the top of the earth's atmosphere varies with the 11-yr solar cycle between 105 and 101 particles/cm2 per year. The integrated flux of galactic particles is more constant, at about 108 particles/cm2 per year. These primary solar and galactic particles are almost completely attenuated as they penetrate the atmosphere down to an altitude of about 20 km (65,600 it). However, as they pass through an increasingly dense atmosphere, they undergo nuclear interactions. Hence, at the altitude of 20 km only 50X of the original protons, 25% of the original alpha particles, and 3% of the heavier nuclei are left. But there is a buildup of secondary particles--neutrons, protons, and piano. Further plan decay produces electrons, photons, and muons. As a result, there is a cosmic-radiation maximum at 20 km. A net attenuation in particle flux density occurs at lower altitudes, reducing both the number and the energy of secondary particles produced. At altitudes below 6 km (19,700 it), muons and associated decay electrons are the dominant components of the cosmic-ray particle flux. Figure 5-2 illustrates the components of cosmic-radiation dose equivalent rates as a function of altitude. Secondary particles react with tissue through several mechanisms, including ionization (stripping of electrons) and direct inelastic and elastic collisions with nuclei. Both protons and gamma rays can interact with electrons and cause ionization of molecular structures in tissue. The heavier neutrons can have elastic collisions with lighter elements in tissue. Because of the abundance of the hydrogen nucleus in tissue, it is the most likely target nucleus for elastic scattering. Some of the energy is lost as gamma photons in inelastic collisions with heavier target nuclei. In both types of collisions, the now-energized target nucleus penetrates tissue as an ionizing particles Like directly ionizing proton particles, these recoil protons are massive, compared with electrons, and dissipate energy over a relatively short path. Thus, the biologic effectiveness of radiation depends on the characteristics of the radiation, and not only on its energy. Because

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121 103: 1 o2 1 _ LLl' 1 0 a: a: LL in o m 10 cr o cn 10 10-2 Total ~ Electrons it/ // 0 5 1Q 15 20 Protons Neutrons \ Muons ~ Pions 1 1 1 1 1 25 30 ALTITUDE, km FIGURE 5-2 Absorbed dose rates at depth of 5 cm in 30-cm-thick slab of tissue from various components of cosmic radiation at solar minimum and at geomagnetic latitude of 55 degrees N. Reprinted with permission from National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.l09 muons and associated fast electrons are essentially unattenuated by the body, the dose equivalent rate, in millirems per hour, as a function of altitude is determined essentially by the flux of protons and fast neutrons. The flux rates for fast neutrons at various altitudes are shown in Figure 5-3. The dose equivalent rate of cosmic radiation in millirems per hour as a function of altitude is illustrated in Figure 5-4. The equivalent dose _ _ temporally (with time of maximal solar activity) and

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122 1.2: 1.0 0.8 Cat C, - O 0.6 A_ c, v, ~ 0.4 J 0.2 o / I , I ~ I , I l I ~Thousands of Feet 0 20 40 60 80 100 ~1 0 5 1 0 1 5 20 25 30 ALTITUDE Ki iometers FIGURE 5-3 Altitude profile of atmospheric neutron flux. Adapted from Schaefer.1 31 with latitude. The spatial and temporal variations have been determined from several direct-measurement programs conducted during the late 1960s and early 1970s. At altitudes typical of subsonic commercial aircraft, 9-12 km (29,500-39,400 ft), the cosmic-ray dose equivalent rate is approximately 100 times the rate at sea level. The newer, higher-performance aircraft are certified to 46,000 ft (14 km). The cosmic-ray dose equivalent rate at 14 km is nearly twice the rate at 10 km (32,800 it). Variation in solar activity and the interaction of charged particles in the earth's magnetic field result in higher cosmic-radiation flux at higher latitudes and during solar flares. Figure 5-5 illustrates the profiles of dose equivalent rates by altitude, latitude, and solar-flare activity.

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123 loo - CJ 6 it J > UJ lo 1 co o ~_~ 0 4 8 12 16 ALTITUDE, km 20 24 FIGURE 5-4 Total cosmic-ray dose equivalent rate at 5-cm depth in 30-cm slab of tissue at gammam = 55 degrees N (- ~ and 43 degrees N (-----) at solar minimum (upper curve) and solar maximum (lower curve). Quality factors for neutrons as function of energy are included in calculations. Reprinted with permission from National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.109 EXPOSURE OF PASSENGERS AND CREW From Figure 5-5, it is relatively easy to estimate the dose equivalent exposure for a particular flight or for an individual. A 5-h trans-Atlantic flight at midlatitude and an altitude of 12 km (39,400 ft) might result in an equivalent whole-body dose of 2.5 mrems. If the same flight goes over the pole during a time of more intense solar activity, the dose equivalent might be 10 mrems. In general, the hourly dose rate at a jet cruising altitude is approximately 100 times the ground- level rate. A person who lived near sea level would have to spend about 200-600 h/yr at cruising altitude to double his or her exposure to cosmic radiation.

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