Sunday, November 05, 2006

Contaminants in passenger aircraft cabins

Here's another article on Airport Business that has some attention-grabbing lines:
What if a terrorist released an invisible poison or disease-causing agent such as anthrax inside a commercial airliner?

Researchers at the [Kansas State] university are under contract with the Federal Aviation Administration to study how to detect, contain and remove contaminants on planes.
Oh, good. I'm glad to hear that! The article goes on:
While the airplane research covers accidental contamination and the natural spread of viruses such as flu or chickenpox, the deliberate spread of toxins is a key concern, said project supervisors.

"If we had been doing this research 10 years ago, we probably wouldn't be looking at intentional contamination of the cabin," said Byron Jones, project director and a professor of mechanical and nuclear engineering. "We'd be looking at normal, everyday contaminants."

While someone could release toxins in other crowded environments - such as theaters, stadiums or buses - airplanes are historically terrorist targets and have especially captive occupants. Such an incident would have a "huge negative impact" on the airline industry, Jones said.
Gee, ya think??

Okay, okay. I was being sarcastic there. But seriously, folks, aren't you glad that someone actually is looking into this issue?

Aircraft cabin air quality is indeed a very serious issue, whether we're talking about the spread of infectious diseases by coughing, sneezing passengers, or issues like the spraying of pesticides inside airliner cabins (required by some governments for arriving international flights).

And if you're interested in reading more about the Kansas State University research on aircraft cabin contaminants, you can read the whole article here: Study Seeks Way to Remove Poisons from Airplanes - Airport Business

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