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Assessing total fungal concentrations on commercial passenger aircraft using mixed-effects modeling.
McKernan LT; Hein MJ; Wallingford KM; Burge H; Herrick R
J Occup Environ Hyg 2008 Jan; 5(1):48-58
The primary objective of this study was to compare airborne fungal concentrations onboard commercial passenger aircraft at various in-flight times with concentrations measured inside and outside airport terminals. A secondary objective was to investigate the use of mixed-effects modeling of repeat measures from multiple sampling intervals and locations. Sequential triplicate culturable and total spore samples were collected on wide-body commercial passenger aircraft (n = 12) in the front and rear of coach class during six sampling intervals: boarding, midclimb, early cruise, midcruise, late cruise, and deplaning. Comparison samples were collected inside and outside airport terminals at the origin and destination cities. The MIXED procedure in SAS was used to model the mean and the covariance matrix of the natural log transformed fungal concentrations. Five covariance structures were tested to determine the appropriate models for analysis. Fixed effects considered included the sampling interval and, for samples obtained onboard the aircraft, location (front/rear of coach section), occupancy rate, and carbon dioxide concentrations. Overall, both total culturable and total spore fungal concentrations were low while the aircraft were in flight. No statistical difference was observed between measurements made in the front and rear sections of the coach cabin for either culturable or total spore concentrations. Both culturable and total spore concentrations were significantly higher outside the airport terminal compared with inside the airport terminal (p-value < 0.0001) and inside the aircraft (p-value < 0.0001). On the aircraft, the majority of total fungal exposure occurred during the boarding and deplaning processes, when the aircraft utilized ancillary ventilation and passenger activity was at its peak.
Fungi; Fungicides; Airborne-particles; Aircraft; Air-quality; Air-quality-control; Air-quality-monitoring; Airports; Air-sampling; Sampling; Sampling-methods; Microorganisms
Lauralynn Taylor McKernan, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), Division of Surveillance, Hazard Evaluations, and Field Studies, 4676 Columbia Parkway Cincinnati, OH 45226
Issue of Publication
Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities
Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Harvard School of Public Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division