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Concentrations of selected contaminants in cabin air of airbus aircrafts

Dedicated to Prof. Werner Klein on the occasion of his 60th birthday
: Dechow, M.; Sohn, H.; Steinhanses, J.


Chemosphere 35 (1997), No.1/2, pp.21-31
ISSN: 0045-6535
ISSN: 0366-7111
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IUCT ( IME) ()
aircraft; cabin; microbiological contamination; particle contamination; VOC; volatile organic compounds

The concentrations of selected air quality parameters in aircraft cabins were investigated including particle numbers in cabin air compared to fresh air and recirculation air, the microbiological contamination and the concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOC). The Airbus types A310 of Swissair and A340 of Lufthansa were used for measurements. The particles were found to be mainly emitted by the passengers, especially by smokers. Depending on recirculation filter efficiency the recirculation air contained a lower or equal amount of particles compared to the fresh air, whereas the amount of bacteria exceeded reported concentrations within other indoor spaces. The detected species were mainly non-pathogenic, with droplet infection over short distances identified as the only health risk. The concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOC) were well below threshold values. Ethanol was identified as the compound with the highest amount in cabin air. Further organics were emitted by the passengers - as metabolic products or by smoking - and on ground as engine exhaust (bad airport air quality). Cleaning agents may be the source of further compounds.