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Telegraph article on "poisoned air"

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Telegraph article on "poisoned air"

Old 24th Jun 2007, 11:22
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Telegraph article on "poisoned air"

Anyone seen this?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main...4/nbook124.xml

Makes sobering reading.
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Old 24th Jun 2007, 12:43
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'Pilots disabled by poisoned air' - Sunday Telegraph article

Christopher Booker's notebook
By Christopher Booker, Sunday Telegraph 24/06/2007

Pilots disabled by poisoned air

A few years back Susan Michaelis, Tristan Loraine and John Hoyte were successful airline pilots, earning up to £100,000 a year. Last Monday, with health and livelihood destroyed, they joined forces with some 20 other similarly disabled pilots, to launch a campaign to alert the public to what should be seen as one of the most alarming scandals of our time.

Yet two days later came further evidence of how the regulatory authorities, in alliance with the airline industry itself, have stopped at nothing to cover up a health disaster whose financial costs for the industry could run to many billions.

The essence of the problem is that the air supply to the cockpits and cabins of many modern airliners is bled off from their engines, where it becomes contaminated with carcinogens, immunosuppressants and highly toxic organo-phosphorus (OP) chemicals, especially a compound known as tricresyl phosphate (TCP) used as an anti-wear additive. Both crew and passengers are thus exposed to small amounts of OPs and a cocktail of other nasties. OPs, more commonly used as pesticides, cumulatively attack the nervous system, causing disorders ranging from nausea, headaches and dizziness to, eventually, serious mental and physical breakdown.
Although this problem was first identified 30 years ago, following a near-fatal incident in the US, it was kept so quiet that when hundreds of pilots in the 1980s began to experience adverse reactions they had no idea why. One of the first to track down the cause was Susan Michaelis, flying BA146s in Australia, when in 1997 she was permanently grounded by severe illness. Two years later, at her instigation, an official inquiry by the Australian Senate heard enough expert evidence to confirm that the cause of so many pilots and cabin crew suffering ill-health was contamination of cabin air by TCP and other chemicals.

In 2001 the cause was taken up in Britain by Captain Loraine, a senior member of the British Air Line Pilots Association (BALPA), who flew Boeing 757s. But from the industry and regulators, such as the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), they met with a wall of denials. Although more pilots were suffering from "aerotoxic syndrome" every year, there began a cover-up which uncannily parallelled the methods used by government in the 1990s when the health of thousands of farmers was destroyed by OPs in sheep dip.

Ironically, in 2005, just after he had organised a BALPA conference of leading scientists and other experts from all over the world, Captain Loraine himself became seriously affected. Initially doctors for his airline saw no reason why he should not continue flying, but in 2006, following further exposure to contaminated air, he was permanently grounded by the CAA.

The career of Captain Hoyte, an experienced BA146 pilot, ended the same year for the same reason, although he was repeatedly told by doctors for his airline and the CAA that his only problem was "stress".

Tests run on both pilots by the leading medical experts on OP poisoning, including Professor Mohamed Abou-Donia, of Duke University, North Carolina, and neuropsychologist Dr Sarah Mackenzie-Ross of University College, London, confirmed brain cell death, cognitive problems and exposure to TCP, explaining why both had become textbook cases of OP-induced chronic neurotoxicity.

Dr Mackenzie-Ross, who since 2003 has been carrying out an extensive study of sheep farmers and airline pilots, has estimated that, in 2004, 197,000 airline passengers in Britain alone could have been exposed to contaminated fumes. The evidence suggests that a great many people have been made ill while flying without having any idea why. One of the scientists studying this problem, Professor Chris van Netten, a Canadian epidemiologist, has analysed swabs taken from many different airliners, finding traces of TCP in more than 80 per cent of the aircraft tested.

Yet, despite the overwhelming weight of evidence, the regulators and the industry have continued to deny that the TCP problem exists. For three years now, as with the sheep farmers before, the British Government has relied on its Committee on Toxicity (CoT) to conduct a seemingly interminable investigation into "cabin air quality", marked by a conspicuous reluctance to address the problem of TCP.

Last week, Michaelis, Loraine and Hoyte joined forces at Portcullis House, Westminster, to launch the Aerotoxic Association, backed by 110 MPs and many peers, including those veterans of the battle to expose the scandal of OP poisoning, the Countess of Mar and Lord (Paul) Tyler. On Wednesday, however, the CoT produced the minutes of yet another of its meetings. As official obfuscation, they were almost self-parodic. They referred to BALPA submitting "data relating to organo-phosphates", but this was the only reference to OPs in the document. The remaining 20 pages, dealing with anything from carbon monoxide to the need to review pilot-training procedures, showed that the committee had no interest in whether airline crews and passengers were being poisoned by TCP from engine oil. It is high time this particular cover-up was blown wide open.
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Old 24th Jun 2007, 13:28
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there was also a report about it on the "you and yours "show on radio 4
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/mainf...o4/youandyours
its about 2 minutes into the program

Neil
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Old 24th Jun 2007, 16:42
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Private Eye has been running regular articles about this item for the last year- 18 months...
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Old 24th Jun 2007, 19:16
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This thread is also running in the Medical Forum

http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=280695
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Old 24th Jun 2007, 21:00
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There is a thread on this subject over on the engineers forum:
http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=239779
What may be of interest is an address where one can be tested for Organophosphate Poisoning.
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Old 24th Jun 2007, 22:09
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This really is a safety issue just as much as a medical issue, so it is very relevant that this threat appears in this mainstream forum rather than tucked away in the Medical Forum.
Many obviously regard this as potentially a very serious problem, and the very eminent ‘New Scientist’ magazine have also addressed the issue this month with an article entitled ‘Toxic fumes impairing our ability to fly, says pilots’, see
http://www.newscientist.com/article/...ay-pilots.html

Last edited by alert; 26th Jun 2007 at 09:21.
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Old 25th Jun 2007, 18:43
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Two posts giving this link to the Aerotoxic Association have been deleted from this forum. Lets see how long this one lasts!
Make up your own minds guys, you are an educated bunch!
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Old 25th Jun 2007, 18:48
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Well, it's not rocket science- if the link to the Aerotoxic Association gets removed, it CAN be found by simply typing it in Google.

It is important that we keep this thread in the forefront. This is the most worrying development to our industry and potentially our health could be being harmed as we speak.
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Old 25th Jun 2007, 20:28
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Dan Air 87
Thanks for pointing out that Private Eye has been keeping an eye out so to speak on this issue.

Do you have any links to any of their articles?
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Old 25th Jun 2007, 23:49
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AVOdriver, the only laboratory in the UK able to test is:

Biolab Medical Unit
9 Weymouth Street
London

0207 636 5959/5905
email: [email protected]

Costs of the test are £433, if however you have suffered a fumes incident then you should be able to get the tests done through your medical cover.
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Old 26th Jun 2007, 01:22
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New Scientist:
toxic-fumes-impairing-our-ability-to-fly-say-pilots.html

And there's a correction in the works there.

Apparently

Last edited by feedback; 26th Jun 2007 at 13:58. Reason: wrong smiley
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Old 29th Jun 2007, 14:11
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Agenda of next COT meeting:
http://www.food.gov.uk/science/ourad...apers3july2007

At least someone seems to think that the Food Standards Agency will be more independent than the CAA Aviation Health unit.

Source material:
http://www.advisorybodies.doh.gov.uk...statements.htm
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Old 29th Jun 2007, 18:46
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OK, but I'm also interested in what's the solution and what will it cost?
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Old 2nd Jul 2007, 10:09
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Well HT you have hit the nail on the head there, whilst crews of some aircraft types report symptoms more than those of other types, all turbine powered aircraft that take air for their passenger/crew compartment from the aircraft engines are susceptible to allowing engine lubricating oil into the air that we breathe on board.
So the fix, well filters would help but would you trust them with such an important job? Perversely, in todays litigious environment the fitting of filters could be resisted by the manufacturers as evidence of a tacit admittance of guilt.
Removing the TCP from the lubicating oils would require a redesign of the turbine engine as the current specification of the oils is as exacting as the design of the powerplant its self. (Taking the big red hazard warning off the oil tin has helped though!)
The best answer would be not to use engine bleed air as breathing air and that would mean a complete rethink in arcraft design, it is inconceivable that such a system could be retro fitted economically to existing aircraft types.
The clever Mr. Boeing is doing just that with the design of the new B787. This fundamental re design, whilst feasible on the drawing board, will not be cheap, and is in its self an indication of the acceptance of the problem by the aircraft manufacturer.
So if you fly one of the aircraft types recognised as a bad offender what type of a pilot are you, are you one of the lucky ones that is not affected (YET)?
Or do you deny to your self and others that you are affected but have a little doubt in the back of you mind?
Or are you fully aware that your performance is worsening, you are perhaps regularly missing the third instruction in a clearance, wracking your head for words in conversation, sleeping away all of your off duty time, does life seem like a treadmill and nothing is any fun any more? As long as you are passing the OPCs LPCs and LCs you must be ok eh....? With a family to support and a mortgage to pay it is easy to ignore the signs or seek other explanations.
It is very comforting to believe the official denials but if you stop for a moment and think about what is at stake here it may become clear why the authorities are playing the problem down. Like everything else its is about money, it is cheaper for the manufacturers to deny the problem exists than to fix it. The operators, however genuine in their concern for passengers and crews, are stuck in a catch 22 situation.
At the very least you owe it to your crew and passengers (the sequence here is intentional!) to find out all you can about the issue and your place within it. You might even want to go that next step and be tested.
Be warned though, once you start looking, you will be horrified.
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Old 2nd Jul 2007, 10:46
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" So if you fly one of the aircraft types recognised as a bad offender"

Has anyone come across a report/table listing the bad offenders?
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Old 2nd Jul 2007, 10:51
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Having personally been involved in a fumes incident of this nature, it is good to hear that more information is being made available. Fortunately for me my tests were ok, but it is a worrying problem.
I believe the current 3 types that have caused the most problems according to BALPA are the 146, 757 & ERJ145
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Old 2nd Jul 2007, 11:15
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Closely followed by,

MD - 83
737-300
A330.

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Old 3rd Jul 2007, 11:34
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And the F100
Reference (amongst others) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/e...ds/3505775.stm
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Old 5th Jul 2007, 12:37
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The idea of using non-bleed air is not new VC10 used compressors. Retro fitting bleed engines will not happen it's way too expensive.
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