A NEW HAZARD IN CLOSED ENVIRONMENTAL ATMOSPHERES
NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC
Pagination or Media Count:
An evaluation was made of a completely integrated life support system in an experiment which involved maintaining five men for 30 days in a hermetically sealed environmental chamber. Undesirable contaminants developed in the chamber and persisted in spite of the contaminant control system. The atmosphere acquired an odor which became increasingly disagreeable. The crew developed anorexia, became nauseated, suffered severe vomiting, and developed headaches and odd facial sensations. Later analysis of the chamber atmosphere identified 23 volatile compounds. Among these were monochloroacetylene and dichloroacetylene. The latter compound is known to produce symptoms identical to those experienced by the chamber crew. Dichloroacetylene has since been found at low concentration in a submarine atmosphere also. A few chlorinated hydrocarbons customarily have been tolerated in most closed environmental atmospheres because of their general usefulness and relatively low toxicity. Such was the case in both these instances. The toxicant was produced through the action of an improperly operating element of the environmental control system on one of these compounds.
- Life Support Systems