Cabin Air Quality Incident Monitoring and Reporting

Funded by: Federal Aviation Administration

Steven Hecker, Project Director, Senior Lecturer and Director, Continuing Education and Outreach, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, University of Washington.

LERC Faculty

    • Laurel Kincl, Project Manager
    • Helen Moss, Field Coordinator

Research Partners:

    • University of British Columbia, Health Care and Epidemiology, Occupational Hygiene, Dr. Christian van Netten
    • University of California at San Francisco, Occupational Health Services, Dr. Robert Harrison
    • Harvard University School of Public Health, John Spengler, PhD
    • Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO
    • British Airline Pilots Association


This project began in May 2005. LERC is participating in this research as a member of the Occupational Health Research Consortium in Aviation (OHRCA). The research plan responds to the National Research Council report, The Airliner Cabin Environment and the Health of Passengers and Crew (2002), and subsequent Congressional mandate to develop a health surveillance system and exposure data in relation to air quality incidents on commercial aircraft. Specific activities include:

    • Development and implementation of an incident reporting system to collect data on potential health effects of air quality incidents
    • Development of acute and chronic medical evaluation protocols for airline crewmembers involved in suspected air quality incidents
    • Final development, testing, and deployment of an inexpensive portable air sampling device capable of being used by airline crewmembers in the field to collect air contaminant data for subsequent analysis during normal and upset conditions in aircraft cabin and cockpits.

The anticipated products of this project include a design for a future full-scale study, which is necessary to determine association between bleed air exposure and health effects. The larger study would produce the scientific rigor necessary to determine possible relationships between exposures and subsequent symptom reports and confounding circumstances.