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How Unhealthy is Airplane Air?
Published: 11/13/2012

The air quality in commercial aircraft is a real problem for both travelers and airline employees. The National Research Council found evidence suggesting that air circulating in passenger cabins may contribute to a wide variety of health problems. Among the hazards noted: overexposure to ozone levels, inadequate oxygen pressure and air contaminated with traces of engine oil, hydraulic fluid, de-icing solutions and even pesticides (sprayed on international flights).

To address these concerns, consider: 

  • Traveling with a portable personal air purifier (check with the flight crew before using any portable electronic device while in flight).
  • Avoiding alcohol during flights to reduce your body’s toxic burden (but drinking plenty of bottled water).
  • Taking an herbal supplement that supports immune health such as echinacea before you get on the plane.

If you travel by air frequently, and have the means to afford it, another option is to fly first class – the first-class cabin provides more outside air per person than coach.

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