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Toxic Cabin Air/Aerotoxic Syndrome

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Toxic Cabin Air/Aerotoxic Syndrome

Old 17th Feb 2014, 14:04
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BBC News - Airline pilots' health fears over polluted air
( includes a video clip )


Airline pilots' health fears over polluted air

Airline pilots are taking legal action following claims they are suffering from a condition known as 'aerotoxic syndrome' caused by the inhalation of engine fumes.
Inside Out spoke to several pilots who claim that the condition has damaged their health and ability to fly.
Dr Jenny Goodman, an expert in environmental medicine, and Dr Michel Mulder, an aviation medical consultant, believe toxins in aircraft are the reason the pilots became ill.
But the medical establishment and civil aviation authorities refute their claims that aircraft toxins can damage the nervous system.
The Department for Transport says there is no conclusive proof that cabin air exposures cause ill health in commercial aircraft crews, whether in general or during 'fume' incidents.
Inside Out's Jacey Normand talks to solicitor Frank Cannon who is taking legal action on behalf of deceased pilot Richard Westgate who believed he was being poisoned by cabin air.

Inside Out is broadcast on Monday, 17 February at 19:30 GMT on BBC One North West and nationwide for seven days thereafter on the iPlayer.
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Old 23rd Feb 2014, 10:23
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MrDK, stop being such an anorak you idiot.

If "fumes" is good enough for the Oxford English Dictionary, (thanks cantiflas), then it's good enough for me. I think you will also find that chemists use FUME cabinets or cupboards in which to do their experiments, not 'vapour' cabinets.

Why not address the question instead of the semantics?

Last edited by Uplinker; 23rd Feb 2014 at 17:10.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 08:47
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Accident: Condor B753 near Las Palmas on Mar 22nd 2013, odour on board causes 2 flight attendants to pass out

On Mar 18th 2014 the CIAIAC released an interim statement stating:

"In April 2013 the health of one of the flight attendants who had been onboard during the flight of 22 March 2013 worsened, requiring hospitalization. The symptoms presented were overall muscle fatigue, in particular proximal of the lower limbs, difficulty walking, sensory disorder, trouble concentrating and general fatigue. She was released from the hospital and continued treatment on an out-patient basis. The symptoms persisted and her health did not show improvement, even worsening at times to the point where she had to be hospitalized. As of the date of this interim report, she still has not been able to return to work. Although the tests performed on her have not been able to identify the cause of the symptoms afflicting her, the medical report from the hospital indicated poisoning caused by some type of neurotoxin."

= No evidence.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 18:13
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Cabin air

The CAA paper is worth a look
http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/CAPAP2004_04.PDF
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 19:16
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Well, that stinks to high heaven! The CAA report bangs on about whether or not certain compounds will"difinitely" cause the symptoms. Well, hanging by the neck and shooting the head doesn't definitely kill people either - there have been numerous survivors of each. Likewise being hit by lightning or drowning. They are hiding behind the difference between a definite outcome, which can never be guaranteed in any event, and likely outcomes.

It's a known fact that TCP produces organophosphates, and it's been well established in agriculture that organophospates are very damaging neurotoxins. WHy the authorities refuse to link the two and agree that aircrew and pax are being routinely poisoned and insist on saying there is no evidence, despite so many documented events, is entirely due to corruption. Perhaps the various authorities, manufacturers and airlines, all complicit in this, should be facing terrorism charges? Anyone else conducting wilful indiscriminate poisoning on this scale certainly would.
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Old 19th Mar 2014, 21:20
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Two different views, but only one can be correct:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lO7KpNNimt0

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wmxm1OyBprg
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Old 20th Mar 2014, 17:04
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Caa report

At least the CAA report is based on facts"
The conclusions from Phase 2 were that the ducts
were contaminated with a carbonaceous material containing chemicals entirely consistent with the pyrolysis products of aircraft engine oil."
How can they set safe limits when there is no data, you cannot say 0 ppm is a safe limit or you will never fly.
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Old 20th Mar 2014, 19:13
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The trouble with assessing only pyrolised ducts is that at those extreme temperatures, most of the harmful vapours are probably burnt away or inert - it's at typical bleed temperatures that the problem exists, and the report seems to have deliberately avoided that.
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Old 13th Apr 2014, 10:35
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Tombstone Boeing Warning

We'll be looking for TOMBSTONES: A Boeing engineer's DEADLY warning about toxic cabin air | Health | News | Daily Express
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Old 13th Apr 2014, 18:12
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Most of the focus here seems to be on the issue of oil fume in the air conditioning and pressurization system. Which is understandable given the carcinogenic properties of turbine oil.

My worst experiences with fumes/vapor/smells have been after deicing. And it seems to have worsened in the last decade. I don't know if that is due to me being older but I suggest that it may be more due to the fact that we use a lot more type 4 fluid these days. It used to be that we were deiced and that was it. Now we have type 1 and type 4 fluid put on during the same process. I know I am very careful about having the packs off and the ditching switch on during deice but you have to turn the packs back on afterwards and that stuff does drip and spread and finds its way back into the A/C system.

I would like to see more attention given to the mix of fluids we are deiced with. All I can do now is run the packs on high and put on my mask if it gets too bad. It does go away after 30 minutes or so but I have received an airplane later in the day that had a deice smell and I knew it had been at least 7 hours since it had been deiced.
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Old 24th Apr 2014, 08:44
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Flight International - Time to Clear the Air.

http://aerotoxic.org/wp-content/uplo...4-Articles.pdf
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Old 31st Jul 2014, 08:35
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Maybe it is really serious...

British Airways pilot Richard Westgate died from toxic fumes on planes, research suggests | News.com.au

The study:
http://www.welt.de/bin/case-study-130712813.pdf
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Old 31st Jul 2014, 09:54
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Thanks for posting the report...frightening reading.
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Old 31st Jul 2014, 10:18
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While the UK appears to be in a state of denial on this, Australia has been very active, possibly due to the number of 146's flying there and believed to have fumes problems. About time we woke up.
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Old 31st Jul 2014, 10:28
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The Westgate case study story has just gone up on Flightglobal: BA crew autopsies show organophosphate poisoning - 7/31/2014 - Flight Global

Professor Mohamed Abou-Donia, the guy who identified Gulf War Syndrome, has this to say about what he saw from Westgate's autopsy: “In all my specialised tests for neuro-specific auto-antibodies he was the worst by far,” he says. “The air transport industry constantly overlooks vital components of OP poisoning: the combined effects of multiple compound exposure – repeated low-dosage exposure is just as dangerous as a single large dose (often more so) – and the genetic predisposition to toxicity of the individual’s genes.”

Wake up guys. There are remedies for this problem. Use them.
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Old 31st Jul 2014, 10:33
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Interesting report, thanks for posting. I do know of at least one major engine manufacturer that takes this issue extremely seriously and is making positive steps to eliminate the possibility of cabin odour by carrying out a 'sniff test' on each engine prior to despatch to the customer.
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Old 23rd Jun 2015, 15:52
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I remember an AME telling me that 'The jury was still out on aerotoxic...' - This was a DOCTOR!!!
And a bloody good one by the sound of it.
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Old 23rd Jun 2015, 16:12
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Health Effects of Contaminants in Aircraft Cabin Air
Professor Michael Bagshaw MB BCh MRCS FFOM DAvMed DFFP FRAeS

Summary Report, Version 2.6
Latest version (October 2013)

Full paper here: https://www.airpilots.org/file/1277/...ort-oct-13.pdf


CONCLUSION

There has been an increase in reported incidents of in-flight smoke/fume events since 1999, with a small number of crew members reporting adverse health effects which they associate with the events.
The source of oil contamination of engine bleed air was identified in early versions of the BAe 146 and the Boeing 757 and suitable modifications were implemented. A range of chronic health effects continue to be reported by some crew members.

The toxic effects of organophosphates are specific and are due to impairment of neurotransmission in the peripheral nerves, giving rise to muscular weakness and paralysis. In terms of medical toxicology, it is impossible to explain the wide range of symptoms and signs reported by some crew members as a unified result of TCP exposure.
Symptoms reported by some crew members who have been exposed to fumes in the cabin, particularly when emergency oxygen masks are used, are the same as those seen in acute or chronic hyperventilation. Obviously not every case of ‘aerotoxic syndrome’ is caused by hyperventilation, but it offers a plausible explanation for some reported events.
In some cases, the symptoms may be due to irritation associated with enhanced chemical sensitivity to certain volatile organic compounds.

The reported symptoms are wide-ranging with insufficient consistency to justify the establishment of a medical syndrome. It has been noted that many of the acute symptoms are normal symptoms experienced by most people frequently; some 70% of the population experience one or more of them on any given day.

Individuals can vary in their response to potential toxic insult because of age, health status, previous exposure or genetic differences.
In addition, it can be difficult to disentangle the physical, psychological and emotional components of well-being, and there is no doubt that different people will respond in different ways on different occasions.
It is not understood why most occupants of pressurised aircraft do not report symptoms despite having the same exposure as those who do.

Finally, so far as scientific evidence has been able to establish to date, the amounts of organophosphates to which aircraft crew members could be exposed, even over multiple, long-term exposures, are insufficient to produce neurotoxicity.
Investigations of aircraft cabin air world-wide have failed to detect levels of TCP above well-established and validated occupational exposure limit values. The partial pressure in the alveolar gas mixture of any TCP contamination of the cabin air is so low that it is unlikely to cross the alveolar membrane.

Genetic or particular susceptibility to a particular adverse effect of certain chemicals on the part of an individual does not alter the need for there to have been a sufficient chemical exposure to cause the injury or damage. For the reasons set out above, the possible exposure levels to ToCP on aircraft are so low relative to what is required to create a toxic effect through inhalation that a toxic injury is simply not medically feasible with current understanding.

Aviation medical professionals throughout the world continue to monitor the scientific evidence and remain receptive to objective peer-reviewed evidence.
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Old 23rd Jun 2015, 17:26
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The dreaded 146

I too was on the 146, and have been retired early due neurological ill health. This is a problem, and I would hope some of the posters on these threads show a bit more concern. It could be you next....
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Old 23rd Jun 2015, 18:02
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Snuggles

When thinking of oil fumes from a chemical standpoint it is a valid question, really. "Oil" is a mix of several hydrocarbons, each with its own ignition point. Oil can evapourate, thus "oil vapour" (or, mostly "fuel vapour" in aviation world) and it can burn, thus "oil smoke" but it is hard to define "oil fume" chemically.

That, is a load of old men making shoes.

The word 'fume' was derived from the French fumer and the Latin fumare meaning 'smoke' or 'steam'. And if you did not know that, then how have you been decoding TAFs and METARs all these years? Ah, you probably weren't....

So a fume is basically visible particulates in the air. And if you have ever seen a 146 APU have a fume event, you would know that 'fume' is the correct appellation. A 146 with an overheating APU is a bit like doing evacuation drills with a smoke generator.

However - I always thought that the 146's blue cabin smoke was coming form the overheating packs, not the APU itself. The fume events only happened in the morning when the pack went banzai and could not control its temperature, and had nothing to do with the APU itself. The engines could have the same effect, if you had not warmed everything up with the APU.

And talking of fume events and ill health - what sort of oil were they putting in those smoke generators, when we did smoke training?
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