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Old 26th Feb 2015, 21:04
  #114 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Europe
Posts: 212
Experts' comments

"The government's position is that "normally" aircraft air is less contaminated than air "in many work environments such as office buildings".
The Department of Transport notes pilots and cabin crew have complained of ill-health but says a review by the independent Committee on Toxicity in 2007 "did not establish a link between cabin air and pilot ill health, but nor did it rule it out".
Professor Clement Furlong is a Professor of Medicine and Genome Sciences at the University of Washington. He gave evidence to the Committee and was puzzled by their conclusion.

"I think, as the airlines say, (cabin air) is generally safe," he told ITV News "but when it's not, it's really not. If you have a fume event or leaky seals and Tricresyl Phosphate (an organophospate compound) or other compounds come into the cabin it can cause permanent damage to individuals."


it is obvious that IATA members remain unaware of the full scientific facts pertaining to this issue.“


Professor David Coggon OBE, MA, PhD, DM, FRCP, FFOM, FFPH, F Med Sci
The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment
Food Standards Agency
Aviation House
125 Kingsway
London WC2B 6NH

16 February 2015

Dear David,

Contamination of the Breathing Air Supply – Passengers: children, infants and the foetus

Further to our recent exchange of communications I have been looking at your presentation to the IATA 2014 Health Conference and reading a copy, I understand all members of the COT Committee have received the volume, of Captain John Hoyte’s book.

From your presentation I note your comment that:

“Patterns of illness that have been reported following fume events do not conform with what would be expected from exposure to triaryl phosphates
•Over-exposure to tricresyl phosphates would be expected to cause delayed peripheral neuropathy

Given the peer reviewed papers, especially from Prof Clem Furlong, that have been forwarded to the COT, I was surprised that the only stated consequence of over exposure to tricresyl phosphate was “delayed peripheral neuropathy”. You will be aware of Vyvyan Howard’s recent comments, attached, on this issue and indeed those of Professor Furlong:

“The issue of the disruption of gene expression, especially in the brain, by TAP exposures is another crucial area of research that needs to be examined. It is highly undesirable to disrupt the brain metabolism of pilots who are responsible for the safety of the aircrew and passengers; clearly, it is undesirable to disrupt the brain metabolism of any occupants of an aircraft. It is known that exposure to OP insecticides disrupts gene expression in mouse brain”

Additionally, reading Captain Hoyte’s book reminded me of the very real limitations of the Cranfield Study, you will know one of the peer reviewers is a COT Committee member, which formed the bedrock of your presentation.

Sadly, especially from the foregoing, it is obvious that IATA members remain unaware of the full scientific facts pertaining to this issue. Which is a great shame since they could then take heed of the sage comments of Sir Austin Bradford Hill and begin to take some appropriate executive action:

“All scientific work is incomplete, whether it be observational or experimental. All scientific work is liable to be upset or modified by advancing knowledge. That does not confer upon us a freedom to ignore the knowledge we already have, or to postpone the action that it appears to demand at a given time”.

Hill, Austin Bradford. “The environment and disease: association or causation?” Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine 58: 295-300. (1965)
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