Insecticide Exposures on Commercial Aircraft: A Literature Review and Screening Level Assessment

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The objective of this project was to provide initial estimates of the relationship between insecticide use on passenger aircraft and exposure levels present in the cabin environment. The work was initially divided into three tasks including 1) a review of insecticide application practices in commercial aircraft, 2) exploratory measurements of insecticide concentrations in treated aircraft and 3) screening level exposure modeling. Task 1 gathered information that is needed to assess the time-concentration history of insecticides in the airline cabin. The literature review focused on application practices, information about the cabin environment and existingmeasurements of exposure concentrations following treatment. Information from the airlines was not available for estimating insecticide application rates in the U.S. domestic fleet or for understanding how frequently equipment rotate into domestic routes following insecticide treatment. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends several methods for treating aircraft with insecticide. Although there is evidence that these WHO guidelines may not always be followed, and that practices vary by airline, destination, and/or applicator company, the guidelines in combination with information related to other indoor environments provides aplausible basis for estimating insecticide loading rates on aircraft. The review also found that while measurements of exposure concentrations following simulated aerosol applications are available, measurements following residual treatment of aircraft or applications in domestic aircraft are lacking. Task 2 focused on developing an approach to monitor exposure concentrations in aircraft using a combination of active and passive sampling methods. An existing active sampling approach was intended to provide data immediately following treatment while a passive sampler was developed to provide wider coverage of the fleet over longer sampling periods. The passive sampler, based on a thin-film polymer-coated glass design, wasdeveloped specifically for deployment in the airliner ventilation system for long-term unattended monitoring of insecticide loading in the aircraft. Because access was not available for either treated aircraft or treatment records during the course of this study, the development and calibration of the passive samplers was halted prior to completion. Continued development of a field ready passive sampler for insecticides in aircraft would require collaboration with the airline industry to finalize the method for deployment and calibration conditions for the sampler. The Task 3 screening level modeling assessment used a dynamic two-box mass balance model that includes treated surfaces and air to explore the time-concentration history of insecticides in thecabin. The model was parameterized using information gathered during the literature review and run for several different insecticide use scenarios. Chemical degradation or sequestration in the surface compartment and mass transfer from the surface to the air limit the rate at which insecticides are removed from the system. This rate limiting process can result in an accumulation of insecticide in the airliner cabin following repeated applications. The extent of accumulation is a function of the overall persistence of the chemical in the system and the amount of chemical applied during each treatment.

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