Oxygen Mask Removed From Plane Restrooms But Safety Questions Remain
Oxygen masks and generators were removed from airline bathrooms earlier this year because of fire safety concerns, and researchers are at work trying to find alternate safety solutions for a complete oxygen system.
The Federal Aviation Association ordered airlines to remove oxygen generators from aircraft lavatories earlier this year over fears that the generators, which are easily accessible, could have been used to start a fire or other flight hazard, according to a report from USA Today.
The decision was made by the FAA, Transportation Security Administration and the FBI. They said it was a purely precautionary step and that there was no credible threat regarding lavatory oxygen at the time.
Researchers are at work attempting to create a safer oxygen system, but the final product wouldn't be ready for two to four years. Airline safety officials are worried that in the meantime, a passenger or crew member could have serious brain damage or die if they were stuck in the restroom while a flight was in compromising situation where supplemental oxygen was needed.
Research has shown that exposure to oxygen-free conditions for two minutes at even 25,000 feet, about 10,000 feet lower than an average flight, can lead to serious brain damage.