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Aerotoxic in the news

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Aerotoxic in the news

Old 22nd Feb 2015, 17:26
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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My flying career came to an end at age 55 when I developed epilepsy.
Out of a total of over 16,000 hours I spent about 5500 flying the Bae146 aircraft. From my own research the two worst (Western) culprits for contaminated bleed air were the 146 and the 757. I consider myself fortunate that my epilepsy is "mostly" drug controlled thanks to the NHS and some excellent consultants in the UK. Sadly however, I know of other pilots employed by the same 146 operator who have suffered much more life threatening illnesses than me and in one case with fatal results. Whilst working on the 146 I suffered more bronchial problems than at any other stage in my life and these have gone since I ceased flying it. On numerous occasions I reported air contamination on that aircraft both via the maintenance log and separate safety reports but these were always dealt with in such a way as to minimise any publicity.
Boeing went to a lot of expense and risk designing the 787 NOT to use bleed air- but of course can not advertise this as all their other types still use it . Airbus looked at alternative air systems for the A350 but decided not to for cost reasons.
Obviously the airlines and aircraft manufacturers want this recent publicity "hushed up" as it could be catastrophic for the industry but IMHO it is time that a proper inquiry was commenced.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 17:31
  #22 (permalink)  
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Ian W, you seem very focused on the 146 as we know its the worst offender but the 2 pilots and 1 cabin crew member that have died were not on this type. Most cabin crew do not have any choice as to which aircraft they fly on.

Yes the seals should be replaced but also filters fitted to prevent fume events and low level exposure.

It's now on the BBC news: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=zGVL1N4LZYM
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 18:20
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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I am a bit confused here. The coroner's report said that a post mortem exam showed causes of death as "either pentobarbital toxicity or lymphocytic myocarditis". Surely the first possibility includes sleeping pills (Nembutal etc), while the second has a whole host of possible causes etc. Presumably the organ phosphate thing is only one. Yet this coroner goes straight to that as a cause. Absolutely, definitely, no doubt about it. Wouldn't he be better advised to wait until a full investigation is completed?
Not only that, but the lawyer representing the unfortunate man gave an interview on TV today alleging all manner of things, including pinning the blame for Gulf War Syndrome on these chemicals. I thought that, in the UK at least, Gulf War Syndrome doesn't exist?
Seems to me to be a lot of jumping to conclusions here. It would have been wiser for the coroner to shut up and wait until there was something concrete to report.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 18:37
  #24 (permalink)  
 
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There is no jumping to conclusions, just a lot of jumping to the defense of the manufacturers and airlines.

TCP is added as an anti-wear ingredient to the oil. The oil escapes intot he bleed system from the compressor and at temperatures over 80-90oC, well below pre-cooled bleed air temperatures, turns into organophoshates. The 70s agricultural industry demonstrated very well the neurological conditions associated with organophophate poisoning.

The authorities claim there is no evidence of any problem, despite numerous events and swabbing of aircraft, including brand new aircraft of types other than 146, and every aircraft was tested positive for contamination on the cabin surfaces. The authorities also state there is no evidence that organophosphate poisoning would have these effects on the occupants, as if the effects would differ from in agriculture just because the venue has changed.

It's readily apparent there is a widespread problem, and the new electric compressors of the 787 seem a tacitadmission of the issue. The trouble is the litigation costs are so high and the authorities would be liable themselves too if the issue is admitted, so it's all buried.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 19:05
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Why don't all "long haul" pilots have DVT ?
Probably for the same reason that all retired test people from the engine manufacturers who worked in the test departments where these oil and seals are tested don't have anything but average statistical health problems.

I'm sure barit1 has inhaled way beyond the average in engine oil fumes.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 19:34
  #26 (permalink)  
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Smudger it's the 'just deal with it' attitude that has caused so many unnecessary deaths of young capable aviation professionals before their time. You should count yourself lucky you have been able to fly for so long without symptoms and hope you have as equally long and healthy retirement.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 19:48
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Smudger, I thought like you until after 17 years on the 146 I lost my kidneys in a week due to an unsual disease, "Good Pasture Syndrome" which affected my immune system, shutting down the kidney filters. The Docs were puzzled until the senior consultant asked me " Have you been in regular contact with oil?" , and the penny dropped. I know of several other cases of various other defect caused by the same organophosphate chemicals, including early deaths. The figures are not inconsequential, and they are similar to the problems farmers had with sheep dip. The uni at Cranfield that was reserching the problem suddenly had there funding withdrawn I believe as they were nearing a conclusion. I know what my own conclusion is! We will never win a fight with government and industry.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 19:52
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lomapeso, the test engineers sit in a cubicle that is airconditioned from outside sources, not from the test engine's compressor, and they don't spend 10 hours or more every working day breathing that cubicle air anyway. Try to be balanced in your rebuttal.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 20:21
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As usual, every one wants to take a extreme militant opposing position.

The human body is nothing but one big chemistry set. As I have stated before, what doesn't alter your chances of getting cancer. What doesn't alter your chances of some reaction to something.

Statistically people will have adverse reactions to all sorts of things, sometimes violently, sometimes cumulatively over time. This varies across the population.

This is the reason, they don't go on a holy Jihad/crusade to ground the fleet or whatever you expect to happen. Statistics and economics, or risk versus reward. What they may do is assume a probability of it being a particular risk and allow a natural attrition of aircraft design to take care of the situation.

Across the general population the risks are obviously extremely small, that leaves flight crew who have the potential for exposure level being in the greatest danger. Hence focus should statistically be on them, but again if their afflictions arn't any higher than the general background population, its hard to pin it down to any particular event.

As per usual in these things, extreme opposing views and potential gains and losses, will force the thing to be fought with lawyers and media, politics instead of cold hard facts.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 20:29
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rh200, I agree to a point, but you have to remember they said the same sort of thing about lead in paint and in petrol, asbestos in building and the solvents in automotive paints until proven otherwise. The point is that the evidence is already overwhelming but is being denied by manufacturers, airlines and authorities, all of whom have a vested interest in continuing the denials of a problem to avoid extremely large levels of litigation. It'll eventually come out, and the litigation costs will be even higher, but bean counters are rarely concerned with long-term views, and these bodies will all be run by such individuals.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 21:13
  #31 (permalink)  
 
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Aluminium shuffler:
test engineers sit in a cubicle that is airconditioned from outside sources, not from the test engine's compressor, and they don't spend 10 hours or more every working day breathing that cubicle air anyway.
Don't run your imagination and call it data, sir. I've spent many test hours outside the control cab, at many advanced and many primitive test sites. Also quite a few hours collecting test data in flight.

Try to be balanced in your rebuttal.
Not a bad idea, I say.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 21:22
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Aerotoxics

Here is how this will play out: "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." - Mahatma Gandhi.

Filters for the old, electric compressors for new designs.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 21:27
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The authorities claim there is no evidence of any problem, despite numerous events and swabbing of aircraft, including brand new aircraft of types other than 146, and every aircraft was tested positive for contamination on the cabin surfaces.
Would you care to provide some evidence for that? Proper, peer reviewed, evidence. Not the usual hearsay and 'feelings' that propagate through these threads on here but cold, hard, facts.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 22:07
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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If you spend any time at/around airports, you'll be breathing organophosphates, granted in extremely small quantities - and I'm sure the same is true of any metro area (especially highly polluted ones). As rh200 notes, the human body is an extremely complex chemistry set, every one unique. Just as some people are so sensitive to peanut allergies that they can have a reaction just by being in the same room as someone who recently consumed peanuts, I suspect some people are extremely sensitive to even low levels of organophosphate contaminations. I've noticed a significantly higher rate of fume events on Rolls powered 747 and 757 relative to Pratt and GE powered versions. I suspect this is related to the more complex lube systems required with a 3 spool turbine.

All that being said, properly funded, peer reviewed research is needed before we start mandating $Billions in redesign and retrofit costs.
The current level of research into organophosphate poisoning reminds me too much of the bogus "Vaccines cause Autism" studies which, years after being totally debunked, are causing supposedly intelligent parents to refuse to have their children vaccinated. The result being current epidemics of diseases that were once thought to have been eliminated in the US, and people have died as a result.

BTW, do current technology filters even exist that can reliably filter out organophosphate contaminates?
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 22:23
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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Aerotoxics

tdracer,

" BTW, do current technology filters even exist that can reliably filter out organophosphate contaminates?"

I believe electrostatic filtering is up to the task of oil mist extraction.

Works very well in machine shops to extract coolant mist kicked up by lathes and mills.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 22:36
  #36 (permalink)  
 
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but you have to remember they said the same sort of thing about lead in paint and in petrol, asbestos in building and the solvents in automotive paints until proven otherwise.
Absolutely. But like every thing else its easy to say in hind site. As technology evolves so does society. Most companies are painfully aware of liabilities and the possibility of long term damage.

In the mentioned cases there was a large statistical distribution of cases. In those cases they where most likely there way before our societies had the ability or political (also grotty management) will to accumulate the data to prove that. As such it had to wait for a tidal wave of evidence.

With todays technology and reporting, its a lot easier to accumulate the evidence. As such you need to show that the cases are a 1 in small number versus a 1 in large number issue, and are attributable to the problem.

Yes there are solutions to the perceived risk, all have a cost associated with them. That cost has to be economically viable versus the other scenario. Sad but true outcome of economics.
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Old 22nd Feb 2015, 22:51
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Cancer is killing so many of us, mental health is a huge problem, suicide rates are extremely high, stress is a huge hidden disease, we are all overworked, overstretched, many are clearly not happy... living and becoming ill in the name of profit and money ...but life is only one. Let's not forget it.
This syndrome is only another example of our irrational lives.
Cancer is killing so many of us? That's because we're all living longer.

Mental health is a huge problem? Clearly.

Suicide rates are extremely high? Not according to The Samaritans....

"Suicide rates have stayed relatively stable in
the UK over the last 20 years, with some fluctuations. Since
1992, in the UK, there has been an overall decrease of around 2
per 100,000 for all persons. "

We are all overworked, overstretched,.... I'm not.

This syndrome is only another example of our irrational lives.

No, it's an example of poor quality control and in some cases maintenance.

Also an indirect admission to the fact that there is a problem with the bleed system is the change from traditional pneumatic system to electrical bleed air system. All the new A/C such as the 787 and all the Neo 73's and 320s have electrical bleed systems which do not tap bleed air from engines.
Er, no.


Airbus A320NEO No advantage to bleedless system

B737MAX Pneumatics
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Old 23rd Feb 2015, 00:27
  #38 (permalink)  
 
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APU

The sickest I have ever been was after a three week duty on an aircraft with a light but obvious oil smell in the cabin.

It was from the APU and disappeared after takeoff.

I took pictures of the APU BLEED FILTER during the replacement but seem to have lost them and cant post them at the moment. The filter replaced was black and almost wet with oil residue.

Does anyone have a BEFORE & AFTER picture of any BLEED LINE AIR FILTERS?
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Old 23rd Feb 2015, 08:22
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barit1:
In cert testing an engine for exhaust emissions - sampling is done at both the exhaust AND the inlet.

And it is not unusual for the exhaust to be CLEANER than the inlet air.
And I'm sure that any manufacturer can arrange many factors and conditions in a test to provide almost exactly the result they require.

I surely don't need to remind you of the nonsense of car testing to produce the artificial figures for MGP and emissions for new cars? You know, the ones where alternators are disconnected, doors taped up, engines heat-soaked overnight, all excess weight stripped out, even heavy standard equipment that is needed for ACTUAL driving, just to get a good figure for the brochure - figures that you and I can never match. in the real world.

I have owned a large estate car (rhymes with Sunday but starts with an 'H', aye 40! onepointsevendieselbluedrive) from new that claimed over 65mpg and therefore was exempt from VED, but even with my very best driving I could never achieve over 50mpg, and was usually about 40mpg in regular long distance commutes to work. By contrast, another car I've owned (civictwopointtwodiesel) for over 2 years claims a mere 53mpg, road tax costs 145 per year, yet I regularly see a true 60+mpg over similar conditions on the identical route, and sometimes around 65mpg with care. What a pity they didn't 'cheat' the system the same way to get the better figures they deserved than the other car...

In other words, tests can be manipulated to achieve a result favourable to the manufacturer, and seldom tell the whole truth of real day to day results in normal, non-ideal conditions.
I'm quite familiar with testing protocols.
Then you'll know exactly what I am saying

Last edited by pilotmike; 23rd Feb 2015 at 11:42. Reason: Bluedrive not bluemotion..., but still b...s....
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Old 23rd Feb 2015, 08:59
  #40 (permalink)  
 
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Test can be manipulated but only by some degree and also all the competition has to do the same basic thing . You will not convince a tank to get 50mpg regardless of tricks . Same here - there is one thing when we speak about the fume events (these are real and dangerous) and another when suggesting that the cabin air is dangerous every time . I'm travelling with a 40 year bus full of diesel fumes daily so i'm not easily impressed . That 's why i was so loud , that and the whole x causes cancer hysteria .
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