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Air in the galley is relatively good, at least compared to the deck and engine room. This was proved by measurements carried out last year on the polar research ship, Oden. Measurement data was relatively small, however, and researchers are now hoping to carry out more comprehensive studies.
In March last year, Sarka Langer from the Swedish Environmental Research Institute IVL and Cecilia
Österman from Linnéus University were on board the Oden. The aim was to carry out measurements of interior air in various departments, including the galley and living areas, to investigate the general environment and the occurrence of air pollution and harmful substances. They measured temperature, humidity, concentration of carbon dioxide and air change rate. They also looked at the levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2 – a substance irritating to airways), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (carcinogenic) and volatile organic compounds (collective name for a range of hazardous chemical substances).
Cook wore meter
”The environment in the galley was relatively good and was well below the recommended standard values. Worst was the air in the engine department, where the levels were ten to twenty times higher than in the mess room, for example.”
For a week, the cook and mess waitress wore a meter in a brooch on their chest, outside their working clothes.
”As for the cook, I could see that there were organic acids in the inhaled air, whereas the mess waitress had been exposed to cleaning chemicals. But the levels were not alarmingly high. On the other hand, it was very warm in the galley with an average temperature of 29 degrees. Only the engine room personnel had a warmer environment, while the bridge had the lowest temperature at 21 degrees.”
In August the same year, the researchers paid a return visit to the ship to find out if there was any difference in the interior environment between the seasons, which there proved to be.
”The levels were generally higher in the winter. That was probably because it was cold and less draughty than during the summer,” says Sarka Langer.
Sarka Langer and Cecilia Österman now hope to continue with a more extensive study of the interior environment on board, in which the administration department will be included.
”We know very little about the interior environment on board, not least among service personnel,” says Sarka Langer.
Linda Sundgren

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