Zerograv, it's the oil, not the engines that is the main problem. Accusations of RR being the cause, even on consortium engines, are not helpful or reasonable.
It is an established fact that most aero oils contain TCP as an anti-wear additive and that it breaks down under temperatures of over 100degC or so into organophosphates, the effects of which have been well observed in the farming industry. Bleed air temperatures are well in excess of this temperature required for this to occur. This is commonly associated with a smell of dirty socks and is experienced on most aircraft from time to time - I have had that smell numerous times on 737s, typically descending at idle thrust below FL100.
Hydraulic fluid also causes similar problems if it migrates from the reservoirs up into the pneumatic manifold, and is associated with a smell of pear drop sweets.
Do a web search for "aerotoxic syndrome" It's nothing new and has been hidden and denied by the industry and authorities for decades. I see the denial as attempted murder, personally, and would like to see those in position to deal with it but who ignore it swing.
Last edited by smileandwaveboys; 7th Oct 2012 at 17:02.
Christopher Booker - Sunday Telegraph 7th October 2012
LUFTHANSA WAKES UP TO THE DANGER OF INTOXICATING FUMES IN THE COCKPIT.
The German press has lately been excitedly reporting on an admission by Lufthansa that, in 2010, an Airbus flight landing at Cologne only narrowly avoided a major disaster when its two pilots were severely incapacitated by toxic fumes from air recirculated into the airliner from its engines.
Back in June 2007, I was reporting here how dozens of similar incidents affecting aircrew had been covered up because many airliners draw cabin air from their engines, contaminated by organophosphate (OP) chemicals used to reduce wear.
Several senior pilots who were forced to retire early are suffering in this way had teamed up with expert scientists and doctors to expose this system's potentially disastrous effects. But they met with a blanket denials from the officialdom and aviation industries of Britain, the US and Australia, because these tricresyl phosphates had been officially approved as safe. Any admission of the problem could have set off an avalanche of compensation claims.
In the 1990's, I ran a long campaign here to expose a similar cover-up of the tragedy befalling thousands of sheep farmers whose health and lives were destroyed after they were forced to dip their animals in OP compounds similarly licensed as safe to use.
I was eventually able to reveal a secret report confirming this by the Health and Safety Executive, but suppressed for the same reason when John Gummer was agriculture minister.
Lufthansa may now have caused a stir in Germany by announcing that its A 380 airliner fleet is to be "upgraded" to end the risk from these "oil fumes". But it has not yet come clean about the mass of scientific evidence (reported in my book Scared to Death) which links the problem directly to the tricresyl phosphates still being pumped into airliners carrying millions of passengers a year.
The report says fumes seemed to be coming from cargo in this case. However I suspect an increasing number of us know colleagues who have been involved in incidents like the Germanwings one. They are deeply worrying at two levels. Pilot incapacitation possibilities over the middle of the ocean for example do not bear thinking about. The long term health issues for those exposed are also not looking good. The colleague I know who was involved in a documented incident suggested certain individuals seem to be more susceptible to showing immediate symptoms, but that does not mean the rest of us will have no long term effects.
OF THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE EUROPEAN AVIATION SAFETY AGENCY
27TH JANUARY 2012
on termination of rulemaking task 25.035 ‘Cabin air quality on board Large Aeroplanes’ without amending EASA regulations
The Agency has been made aware that some stakeholders (some pilots, cabin crews and some of their staff unions, some passengers and some consumers associations) have expressed concerns regarding the risk of contamination of cabin air on board commercial large aeroplanes, in particular the risk of contamination by lubricating oil and hydraulic fluid used in engines and auxiliary power units, on aircraft using bleed air architectures to feed air conditioning systems.
HAS DECIDED: Article 1 The Agency concludes that, based on currently available reports and evidences, there is no safety case that would justify an immediate and general rulemaking action.
For the time being you should minimize any hazards that you feel are present by avoiding the circumstances or protection of some sort.
"Avoiding the circumstances" requires staying away from aircraft which provide bleed derived air to the cabin and flight deck. Not a viable option for flight crew, unless they fly the 787, or the classic DC-8, or a few other rare types which do not rely upon bleed air for pressurization.
As for "protection of some sort", you must either use bottled oxygen, or wear a respirator with an organic-vapor filter. For the entire time that you are in a bleed air environment. Easy!
I lost my kidneys after 17 years on the 146, triggered by my immune system, probably due to organophospates. The consultant asked me if I had been exposed to oil. Farmers had similar problems with sheep dip.