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Toxic Cabin Air/Aerotoxic Syndrome

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Toxic Cabin Air/Aerotoxic Syndrome

Old 17th Jan 2014, 19:13
  #161 (permalink)  
 
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Does anyone know if there is a suitable detector for aircon fumes that we could use, a bit like the CO detectors in puddle jumpers? That way, when our airlines inevitably shut down a report citing a lack of evidence, or worse threaten a crew who diverted with disciplinary action for an event that they can't prove, we'd have some evidence? It really is a common event - I've had many similar experiences to Barkingmad's "altimeter check" at similar altitudes at idle on the 737 (classic and NG alike), despite it being an aircraft with a relatively good reputation (at least compared to the 146 and 75).
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Old 18th Jan 2014, 00:46
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What sort of "fumes" are you looking to detect.
Most inadvertently refer to gases and vapors as fumes, but fumes areparticulates.

Though real time measurement is available for fumes it can be utterlyexpensive.

Many gases and vapors are quite easy to detect either specifically or usingcross sensitivity of other types of sensors, but if any accuracy is requiredfrequent calibration must be done.

Some sensors are also pressure sensitive either statically or transientlymaking variable cabin pressures a conflicting issue.

If real time is not required a simple solution for some fumes would be touse an air sampling pump with a collection filter. The filter would have to bereplaced fairly frequently, but cost only a dollar or two. In an event takesplace and become a dispute the collection filter can be sent to a laboratoryfor analysis. This cannot be a catch all an will not pick up gases and vapors.

Again, what compound do you want to detect?
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Old 18th Jan 2014, 07:54
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If carbon monoxide could be monitored 70 years ago in WW2 fighter aircraft, so could air contaminated with oil fumes in public transport passenger jets in 2014.

It only needs aircrew and passengers to demand that air in a confined space be monitored.

aerotracer - Airsense Analytics GmbH

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Old 18th Jan 2014, 08:18
  #164 (permalink)  
 
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@ Dream Buster
What are oil fumes?
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Old 18th Jan 2014, 15:09
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MrDK,


Are you seriously telling us you don't know what oil fumes are??


Strewth.
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Old 18th Jan 2014, 18:54
  #166 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by MrDK
Again, what compound do you want to detect?
Primarily organophosphates I would think.
Real time and inexpensively.
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Old 18th Jan 2014, 18:58
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Mr DK,

Watch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcNNgqLcx5A

Read this:

http://www.aerotoxic.org/wp-content/...ocol031909.pdf

Don't worry about not knowing; that's exactly the way the airlines want it.
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Old 18th Jan 2014, 20:20
  #168 (permalink)  
 
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Oil smoke & fumes on the 146 & 75's were regular occurrences & talking points a while back.
I vaguely remember a university was (about to?) undertake a study to look for contaminants & swabbing surfaces was mentioned ?
Smells/fumes from first engine/APU start of the day are relatively common,which doesn't of course, make it any more acceptable.
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Old 18th Jan 2014, 20:47
  #169 (permalink)  
 
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Oil fumes are a fundamental design flaw of bleed air and do not just apply to the 146/757.

Example:

Accident: Lufthansa A388 at Frankfurt and San Francisco on Oct 9th 2011, fumes permanently injure flight attendant

Jets which do not use bleed air were B707, DC8 and now the bleedless B787....

QED.
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Old 19th Jan 2014, 00:16
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@ Machinbird
Primarily organophosphates I would think.
Real time and inexpensively.
For that compound I know if no electrochemical or collective sensor that would work.
Even using a photo ionization detector (PID) is suspect as an ionization potential has not been established and if it had a lot of other "crap" would be picked up as a false positive, like alcohols and perfumes.
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Old 19th Jan 2014, 22:38
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Re: Oil Fumes

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.

Water is not described in the term "water fumes" either. You'd prefer "water vapour" or maybe "mist" or "fog" ;-)

About organophosphates, there is to my knowledge no real time detector but as it is a quite sticky family of compounds, I would suggest bringing a sterile cotton swab into the cockpit. Remove it from its protection layers when starting the flight and put it into a test tube when the flight is over (or when you had enough...) and send it to the closest agricultural lab to analyze. They have a vast experience with organophosphates within the agricultural industry so it is inexpensive but might be scary when you get your results back...

Don't ask if you don't want the answer and so on...
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Old 19th Jan 2014, 22:49
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What's oil fume?

It might be difficult to define chemically, but it's easy to define physically - it's anything that makes its way from the unpleasantly toxic - but essentially performing - engine lubricant into the lungs and brains onboard, whether burned, toasted or evaporated.

Anything from the white smoke when gathered pools of oil burn, to blue haze from tiny particles, to this "socks" smell.
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Old 20th Jan 2014, 00:21
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@ MrSnuggles
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.

Water is not described in the term "water fumes" either. You'd prefer "water vapour" or maybe "mist" or "fog" ;-)

About organophosphates, there is to my knowledge no real time detector but as it is a quite sticky family of compounds, I would suggest bringing a sterile cotton swab into the cockpit. Remove it from its protection layers when starting the flight and put it into a test tube when the flight is over (or when you had enough...) and send it to the closest agricultural lab to analyze. They have a vast experience with organophosphates within the agricultural industry so it is inexpensive but might be scary when you get your results back...

Don't ask if you don't want the answer and so on...
Agree 99%, except it is easy to define a fume
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Old 20th Jan 2014, 00:33
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@awblain
It might be difficult to define chemically, but it's easy to define physically - it's anything that makes its way from the unpleasantly toxic - but essentially performing - engine lubricant into the lungs and brains onboard, whether burned, toasted or evaporated.
Oh lord help us
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Old 20th Jan 2014, 05:39
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For that compound (organophosphates) I know if no electrochemical or collective sensor that would work.
I wouldn't give up just yet.
I can think of 3 potential approaches for detecting engine oil fumes in the cabin and cockpit. (Some development required)
  1. Organophosphate poisoning results from exposure to organophosphates which cause the inhibition of acetylcholinesterase (AChE). Develop an appropriate biosensor system on a chip to detect AChE inhibition. This technology is in its infancy however.
  2. Determine a characteristic absorption spectrum for the Organophosphate bonds and build a narrow frequency spectrometer looking for absorption in a light beam transmitted through an air sample. The P=O double bond coupled with the P-O-H bonds might be sufficient to avoid false alarms and yet give rapid detection.
  3. Add an inactive but distict and easily detected (using present technology) chemical to engine oil. This chemical would be an analog for all the breakdown components of engine oil including the problematic organophosphates.
It is amazing to me that the MSDS for jet engine oil does not reflect the breakdown product hazards we now know to be present. For example :
http://qclubricants.com/msds/ROYCO500.pdf
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Old 20th Jan 2014, 08:41
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@MrDK

My point was that all of the suggested forms would be of interest, if "fume" is used generically, rather than technically, for all sorts of airborne and ingestible lubricant-related muck. I understand that "oil fume incident" tends to be used to cover all.

Hence a test will be difficult, since the offending material could be in this wide variety of forms: a gas, a mist of different sized drops with different compositions, as a mantle on solid smoke particles, within the smoke particles…

MrSnuggles' swab traveling along with you sounds like a good start, although the swab is dry and doesn't inhale. You'd also probably be best to run a control with a fresh one, and to try exposing them in other circumstances, far from engine oil. The same goes for your collection sampler, which would be better since it has an airflow.

Another problem would be potential loss of volatile materials from the filter during the hours after exposure, as the level likely isn't at all constant.
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Old 20th Jan 2014, 14:01
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I must have come across as lecturing about fumes. Sorry about that. I was just nerdy from a chemist standpoint. A bit tounge-in-cheek too.

Point taken on the dry cotton swab. That is easy to remedy, just add a few drops of water.

Actually, this seems like an experiment I would enjoy to do. Anyone passing ARN just give me a heads up and I will prepare an array of different swabs for you. :-D
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Old 20th Jan 2014, 22:42
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Using a collection material for fumes can be quite effective, but it requires additional data.
Sampling rate is one.
Most such monitors flow from 0.5 liters per minute to 5 LPM whereas human breathing rate at a light workload is 40 LPM and at complete rest about 25 LPM. Easy to compensate for that.
Using a collection media presents an accumulative measurement, so for example if a flight is 8 hours in duration it is important to know the duration of exposure (i.e. 30 minutes) or the sample will be diluted by the ratio between the two.
If the collection media is not replaced frequently (between each flight) trace and non-concerning concentrations will be added to sample over time and consequently distort the results.

Install a photoionization detector (PID) with a 9.6eV lamp and a datalogger.
It is cheap (~$2,000) and will pick up countless compounds, though not specifically.
A PID is excellent in detecting long chained HC's like oil, it is real time and can log 100's of hours by the minute.
Down side it should be calibrated at least monthly; a 2 minute and 99% automatic procedure.
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Old 26th Jan 2014, 20:43
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More info,
http://ashsd.afacwa.org/docs/HCPfull.pdf
Tricresyl phosphate (?TCP?) :: The Arrows of Truth
Home of the Aerotoxic Association - aerotoxic.org

Grounded 27,are you management? Nothing to see here?!?!

Last edited by Golden Rivit; 26th Jan 2014 at 21:04.
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Old 27th Jan 2014, 16:24
  #180 (permalink)  
 
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ITF - International Transport Workers Federation video on contaminated air:

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