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Journal Article

A History of Space Toxicology Mishaps: Lessons Learned and Risk Management

2009-07-12
2009-01-2591
After several decades of human spaceflight, the community of space-faring nations has accumulated a diverse and sometimes harrowing history of toxicological events that have plagued human space endeavors almost from the very beginning. Some lessons have been learned in ground-based test beds and others were discovered the hard way - when human lives were at stake in space. From such lessons one can build a risk-management framework for toxicological events to minimize the probability of a harmful exposure, while recognizing that we cannot predict all possible events. Space toxicologists have learned that relatively harmless compounds can be converted by air revitalization systems into compounds that cause serious harm to the crew.
Technical Paper

Toxicological Assessment of the International Space Station Atmosphere from Mission 5A to 8A

2002-07-15
2002-01-2299
There are many sources of air pollution that can threaten air quality during space missions. The International Space Station (ISS) is an extremely complex platform that depends on a multi-tiered strategy to control the risk of excessive air pollution. During the seven missions surveyed by this report, the ISS atmosphere was in a safe, steady-state condition; however, there were minor loads added as new modules were attached. There was a series of leaks of octafluoropropane, which is not directly toxic to humans, but did cause changes in air purification operations that disrupted the steady state condition. In addition, off-nominal regeneration of metal oxide canisters used during extravehicular activity caused a serious pollution incident.
Technical Paper

Pulmonary Toxicity of Lunar Highland Dust

2009-07-12
2009-01-2379
Lunar dust exposures occurred during the Apollo missions while the crew was in the lunar module on the moon's surface and especially when micro-gravity conditions were attained during rendezvous in lunar orbit. Crews reported that the dust was irritating to the eyes, and in some cases, respiratory symptoms were elicited. NASA's current vision for lunar exploration includes stays of 6 months on the lunar surface hence the health effects of periodic exposure to lunar dust in the habitat need to be assessed. NASA is performing this assessment with a series of in vitro and in vivo tests with authentic lunar dust. Our approach is to “calibrate” the intrinsic toxicity of lunar dust by comparison to a relatively low toxicity dust (TiO2) and a highly toxic dust (quartz) using intrapharyngeal instillation of the dusts to mice. A battery of indices of toxicity is assessed at various time points after the instillations.
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