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Call For Study of Air Quality
May 3, 2010

The U.S. Senate recently passed legislation that could make air travel a little less stressful and much more healthy by calling for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to conduct a study of air quality in the cabins of U.S. airliners.

The measure to protect the flying public from harmful toxins in cabin air planes was put forth by Senator Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) and approved by the Senate on March 22nd.

In her address to the Senate, Sen. Feinstein supported her argument for further study of the quality and safety of cabin air with a 2009 letter from The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Presidential Member William Harrison, in which he called on the FAA to “investigate and determine the requirements for bleed air contaminant monitoring and solutions to prevent bleed air contamination.”

In the letter, Mr. Harrison urged the FAA to consider adopting ASHRAE Standard 161-2007, Air Quality Within Commercial Aircraft, which covers issues such as temperature, cabin pressure, air contaminants and ventilation rates. The standard also addresses chemical, physical and biological contaminants that could affect air quality as well. Methods of testing are provided for ensuring compliance with the standard’s requirements.

Mr. Harrison’s letter was submitted to be included in the Congressional record.

The measure now must be considered by both chambers for inclusion in the final bill to reauthorize the FAA.

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