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WSJ: How Safe is Airline Water? A story initiated by our youngest FTer

WSJ: How Safe is Airline Water? A story initiated by our youngest FTer

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Old Nov 1, 02, 7:52 am
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WSJ: How Safe is Airline Water? A story initiated by our youngest FTer

OK, forgive me for this extreme display of motherly pride, but I'm just too excited ... As many of you know my 13-year-old son T-wiz aka Zach spent sometime this year testing airplane water quality for a school project on nine of our flights. What he found was pretty surprising - fecal coliform, e. coli, salmonella - on 7 out of 9 flights.

I posted about it briefly in a trip report and a little more in a UA thread someone started on galley water. The wonderful Jane Costello of the WSJ followed up with their own flights and tests. Six months and many $$ later, the WSJ has printed the story today. I don't know if it's online because I don't have a subscription, but it's the lead on today's Weekend section. Zach's mentioned with regard to how they came upon the story idea in the 10th graph on page W6:

<font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif" size="2">Our own suspicions about the water came from an unlikely quarter: Zach Bjornson-Hooper, a home-schooled 13-year-old from Alamo, Calif., who became curious about airline tap water when he saw a flight attendant pouring it for passengers. "My parents own a sailboat," he says, "and I know we don't drink the tank water on that." So as part of a science project, he took samples during a trip to Australia and New Zealand - and watched later as colonies grew on his petri dishes. "I was pretty grossed out."</font>
Their results are pretty amazing. They even found insect eggs that days later in the lab hatched into maggots. It's an interesting story to read, the T-wiz-connection aside. As a result of the story, the FDA says it will start a spot-check water program.

OK ... I'll try to conceal my pride now.
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Old Nov 1, 02, 8:08 am
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Great job Zach!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Old Nov 1, 02, 8:23 am
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Bravo and well done!!

What a great lesson for your son in making a difference.
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Old Nov 1, 02, 8:48 am
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Congratulations.

I guess I will stick with alcohol now .
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Old Nov 1, 02, 8:48 am
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Way to go! Congrat's and best regards to Zach, Sheri!
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Old Nov 1, 02, 8:55 am
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France has been the only country that has standards for airline water. Let us hope other countries will follow.
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Old Nov 1, 02, 9:36 am
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Wow - congrats!

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Old Nov 1, 02, 9:46 am
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I remember your great thread (and Zach's) from the UA forum - good job!
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Old Nov 1, 02, 10:01 am
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Congrats.

Link to your old thread
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/Forum50/HTML/011815.html
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Old Nov 1, 02, 10:16 am
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Does anyone know if making water into coffee, which doesn't heat the water at altitude quite as much as it does on the ground, is enough to kill them?
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Old Nov 1, 02, 10:41 am
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Fantastic! Proof that responsible research and responsible journalism can make a difference in our lives.

I vote that your son gets to pick dinner tonight - he is certainly a hero - and he's a much better person than the morons who let this go on for all these years. Kudos to Zach, and a pox on said morons.

What exactly has the FAA been doing all these years? Silly rules about seat belt usage, tray tables and seat backs are more important than on-board drinking water safety? These fools have their priorities screwed up.
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Old Nov 1, 02, 11:14 am
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I am proud of your son too!
Great job, very impressive.
Looks like your family did a great job of home schooling.

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Old Nov 1, 02, 11:18 am
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Thanks for all the comments everyone. I'll be sure Zach see them when he gets home from school (he started high school this year and we decided we couldn't do the homeschool thing for that).

Efrem I've wondered about that too because I do like to drink hot tea. I wish I knew the answer.

Slate had a brief write up this morning:
The WSJ fronts its Weekend Journal with an in-depth investigation into the quality of water on airplanes. While most water served
in flights is bottled, the tap water and lavatory water stored in tanks is often crawling with bacteria and even insect eggs--and when the bottled water runs out, flight attendants often serve tap. So think twice before you brush your teeth in an airplane
bathroom. The WSJ credits the investigation to a 13-year-old kid from California who decided to test airplane water as a science
experiment. Watching the bacteria grow in petri dishes, he told the WSJ, "I got fairly grossed out."
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Old Nov 1, 02, 11:19 am
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In all my years of flying, I've never heard of water being tested, but what a no brainer! Excellent!!!

It is online now on the WSJ.com site.But it is also on msnbc.com. See http://www.msnbc.com/news/829189.asp

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Old Nov 1, 02, 11:23 am
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Congratulations T-Wis (Zach) for a fascinating study...especially having to exlain what all the bottles were for at security.

And more congrats to Shari and Rod for obviously home-schooling in the best possible way - ..

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