Research shows illegally high levels of ozone affect passengers on some US domestic flights
Fri 2 May 2008 – Studies carried out by the University of California found that harmful and illegal levels of ozone are present on some US flights and the research team suggests that ozone converters should be fitted on all aircraft flying domestic routes, reports New Scientist magazine. Breathing ozone can cause headaches and respiratory illness, and has even been linked to cancer.
The team monitored ozone levels on 76 international and domestic flights, and found that on four domestic flights, ozone levels exceeded federal limits of 100 parts per billion. The US Federal Aviation Administration imposed the limit after reports of high levels of ozone in flight cabins in the 1960s and 1970s. Since then, according to the report, there have been no further studies to monitor ozone levels in airplanes.
The researchers found that storms can mix up atmospheric layers and can bring ozone, which is most concentrated in the stratosphere at around 15km above ground, down to altitudes at which airliners fly.
Monitored aircraft on international flights all carried ozone converters, as did some flying domestic flights, and none had ozone levels that got anywhere near the federal limits. The researchers therefore concluded that all flights should be equipped with converters.