Expert Report

Refinements to the Methods for Developing Spacecraft Exposure Guidelines (2016)

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Human spaceflight is inherently risky, with numerous potential hazards posed at each phase of a mission. Some of the potential health risks arise from the effects of microgravity on the body and from the environmental conditions associated with living and working in spacecraft. Several hundred chemicals are likely to be found in the closed environment of the spacecraft, and as the frequency, complexity, and duration of human spaceflights increase, identifying and understanding significant health hazards will become more complicated and more critical for the success of the missions.

NASA has exposure guidelines for selected air and water contaminants, which were developed using methods established many years ago. This report recommends refinements to the NASA's methods, in light of new developments in risk assessment practices and emerging areas of toxicology research. NASA will use the updated methods to reevaluate some of the existing guidelines or to develop guidelines for additional chemicals.