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Aircrew Safety & Health – Cabin Air Quality

HIAPER research aircraft taking off

Photo courtesy of Julie Haggerty (NCAR)

What you need to know

Potential cabin air hazards may include:

  • Ventilation hazards, including carbon monoxide, ozone, and carbon dioxide levels
  • Pesticide exposures on certain flights
  • Transmission of communicable diseases from sick passengers
  • Cabin altitude and pressurization changes
  • Air contamination events, when cabin air becomes contaminated with breakdown products from heated engine oil or hydraulic fluid

Here you can learn more about cabin air quality and how you can lower your exposure to potential cabin air hazards.

What is not known

We don’t know what causes most health problems that could be linked to cabin air. If you are exposed to a potential cabin air hazard and have health problems, it may not be possible to tell if it was caused by your work conditions or if it was caused by something else.

We don’t know what levels of potential hazards in cabin air are safe for every person.

What you can do to reduce exposure to hazards in cabin air

Be aware of your company’s procedures for dealing with these exposures. Here are some ways to reduce your exposure:

  • Reduce exposure to communicable diseases by washing or sanitizing your hands often. Wash after serving food or beverages to passengers, helping them with their baggage, and before eating. Learn more about how to reduce exposure to communicable diseases on aircraft.
  • Pesticides are sometimes used on the inside of airplanes on certain flights. Learn more about pesticide exposure.
  • Follow up with your doctor if you have concerns about these exposures. Make sure your doctor knows that you work as a crewmember. Sharing this and other information with your doctor may be useful. You or your doctor may also contact us for more information.

For more information