Airplane Water: Is it Safe?

The study finds that the water you use while flying may not be as safe as you think!

"Jane", a flight attendant, says, "At least every two months I would have stomach problems, flu-like symptoms at least every two months."

This woman, who we'll call Jane, is a flight attendant for a major airline. She requested her identity not be revealed, especially with the subject of this story dealing with water quality on airplanes.

"I realized that after flying 13 years for a major carrier, that was one of the reasons why flight attendants are usually sick."

She's referring to a recent study released by the Environmental Protection Agency. Following a test of randomly selected airplanes nationwide, the results show indications of E. coli and coliform bacteria in the water used on commercial airliners.

Jimmie Lombardo, RN and passenger, says, "E. coli is a bacteria found in feces, and when a human consumes it, it causes intestinal problems."

The EPA's study was conducted twice in 2004. During the first round, 158 planes were tested. Twenty tested positive for coliform bacteria, with two testing positive for E. coli.

In the second round, 169 planes were tested. Twenty nine tested positive for coliform bacteria.

Passenger Lori Lombardi says, "I wash my babies’ bottles on the airplanes, you wash your hands, sometimes brush your teeth after a meal, so it's shocking."

The EPA's sampling included water from galley water taps as well as lavatory faucets.