With all that free coffee and tea available to pilots and flight attendants, have you ever wondered why so many crew members can be seen boarding flights with their own cups of refreshments?
The little secret is that the water used to make the coffee and tea is dirty.
A recent NBC investigative report confirms what airline employees have known for years. Think twice about drinking the water – unless you see it served from a bottle, preferably one you open yourself.
The NBC report obtained documents from the EPA which confirm that years after the EPA began a program to clean up airplane water, the problem of bacteria in the drinking water persists on a high percentage of airline flights. While the EPA first focused on this problem in 2004, the airlines have been working on it far longer, albeit not as successfully as passengers would hope.
Cleaning tanks was done on a regular basis. Yet, it was clear to anyone working on these tanks and their hoses that a lot of sediment was accumulating in the system, sediment that was akin to pond scum.
Even after the tanks were bleached and flushed, some sediment always remained. It’s hard to drink anything made with water from those tanks after seeing what accumulates in there.
According to the NBC report, the EPA does not have any confirmed reports of people getting sick from airplane water. Still, experts consulted by NBC warned that infants and those with compromised immune systems should stay away from airline drinking water.
Drinking contaminated water for a long duration can lead to,
headaches, confusion, severe diarrhea, and drowsiness. Also convulsions and changes in fingernail pigmentation called leukonychia striata, Mees’ lines, or even Aldrich-Mees’ lines may also occur.