ATLANTA, GA — According to researchers at the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), concentrations of air contaminants measured in a study of commercial aircraft were found to be generally lower than those in residential or commercial buildings.

According to ASHRAE, “Certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and semivolatile organic compounds (SVOCs) are suspected of entering aircraft through bleed air systems that supply outdoor air to the cabin.”

In addition, ASHRAE said that its research project 959, “Determine Aircraft Supply Air Contaminants in the Engine Bleed Air Supply System on Commercial Aircraft”, identified contaminants and demonstrated the measurement methodology aboard a limited number of aircraft.

Researchers found levels of VOCs, SVOCs, and other contaminants to be low. In addition, bleed air quality was found to be excellent and generally exceeded desired levels of air quality for supply air in other environments, such as offices.

Niren Nagda of Energen Consulting Inc., the consulting firm that conducted the research, said, “This assures that the air being brought into the aircraft is relatively clean,” but he cautioned that the focus of the research project was to measure the possible contaminants on different types of aircraft under normal operating conditions.

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Publication date: 02/26/2001