The Aerotoxic Logbook (ATLB) in English (EN)

The problem has been known since the 1950s - roughly 70 years and nothing has ever been done about it.  The air in the cabin is still ‚bled off’ (the engines) in airplanes - with the well-known possible consequences for flight safety and health, in particular that of  flight crew.

Although the cabin air is 50% re-circulated in modern aircraft types, the basic problem remains unsolved. With one exception: the Boeing B787.  This is/was also the state of knowledge at the first big conference on this topic in London in September 2017. The presentations can now be viewed here: www.aircraftcabinair.com  

There are many reasons why no solutions are found: the targeted influencing of scientific discussions, the airlines’ economic interests, the links between politics and air transport industry and other reasons.

The ‚Aerotoxic Logbook’, launched in January 2017, is a first comprehensive documentation addressing the problem of potentially contaminated cabin air (www.ansTageslicht.de/Kabininenluft) and documents what is happening in this area.  Or, what is not happening. And why not. This German language blog (www.ansTageslicht.de/ATLB) is now also available in English and can be accessed directly via this permalink: www.ansTageslicht.de/ENATLB.

The information we collect in German is translated by Bearnairdine BEAUMONT who operates the network www.aerotoxicteam.com  and the blog www.aerotoxicsyndrombook.com/blog.

With the ‚Aerotoxic Logbook’ we want to achieve international networking,  bringing together all initiatives and activities to communicate about this unsolved problem and to initiate solutions. At the same time it is a scientific experiment: What must happen before a problem is addressed?

November 27th, 2017

"Fume Event Consultation" in Göttingen (DE) apparently finally shut down

It was closed once before: in mid December 2016 until May of this year. Now it is closed down again, and apparently this time its final. Not only new patients are no longer accepted, now even the 'regular customers' no longer receive a follow-up appointment. This has been indicated by the patient initiative p-coc.com. They give a whole series of recommendations:

  • What should be investigated after a fume event  in addition to the biomonitoring and
  • what one should pay attention to regarding what is proposed by BG Verkehr’s ‚D-doctors’ ( ed: first port of call for work place accident injury victims)
  • who are located near the airports,
  • and how to possibly enforce a necessary investigation; if need be with the help of a legal adviser. 
  • Or which additional medical measures are necessary and much more.

The exact reasons of the closure  are not known.

However, it is known that BG Verkehr wants to carry out its own human biomonitoring investigation series, at the DGUV, or its IPA institute, and wants to concentrate everything there -  instructions to this effect have been given to all D- physicians to have such examinations carried out only within their own BG or DGUV network (IPA Institute in Bochum).

Since the beginning of the BG's own 'study' the payment of costs for examinations at the apparently unfavorable Fume Event Consultation Clinic in Göttingen have been refused. It is well known that the senior physician and occupational physician PD Dr. med. Astrid HEUTELBECK has come to other results and conclusions as to whether and how fume events can (or do) affect people's health.

Whether all this is in accordance with "free choice of doctor" in Germany, is - for the first time - undecided. Due to these restrictions, the P-COC patient initiative believes that "an independent quality assurance is not given." 

That's because, according to reports from sufferers, "the D-physicians only, if at all,  offer human biomonitoring;  further diagnostic testing is not carried out, referrals are denied, and furthermore the results of the IPA's proof-of-substance assessments – have never been to given the affected persons. The hitherto still valid medical standard procedure of the BG after fume events has not been used since the beginning of the study. "

The ATLB will endeavor to obtain a substantiated justification from the UMG. And will then report.

November 20th, 2017

A summary from the Lufthansa staff meeting November 20th 2017, topic: FUMES 

There were significantly more interested people present than expected.

Of course, management representatives were also attending in order to present their point of view.

In short the highlights from my point of view:

The lecture by Professor Dieter Scholz, an expert in aircraft systems technology from Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. He showed that small quantities of engine oils ALWAYS get into the air, even if the seals are working as intended.

  • He further reminded that the engine oil can cause nervous system effects according to the warnings on the oil packaging (as they were in place up to 2004).
  • There is even the possibility that chemicals from the oil mist get into the on-board water system because in most airplanes the water tank is pressurized with bleed air. This means in plain language that our coffee and tea on board could also be affected.

If you are interested in details, you can read the lecture here: http://CabinAir.ProfScholz.de 

Frequent questions coming from the audience:

About repeated fume incidents involving the same aircraft over and over  - again management officials said they did not know - to which the audience reacted with a great deal of displeasure - but they want to get information ...

When asked why not after such incidents’ the entire air conditioning is cleaned, or when that would be the case,  rather evasive answers were given. I.e.: one can not clean the air conditioning after every ‚smelly oven’ incident - after verified fume / smell incidents’ this would of course be done.

We know that this is definitely not the case - the complete cleaning of an a/c system can only be incorporated into a ‚D-check’, where all cabin side panels are removed and access is provided to the air ducts. However a ‚D-check’ which involves long ground times (several weeks). Have a look at www.lufthansa-technik.com/en/aircraft-maintenance 

But, as we can prove, most fume-aircraft go back into service after only a short ground-time without thorough cleaning of the air-conditioning system.

The management emphasized that there are HEPA/carbon filters in the recirculation path of the air conditioning system. They acknowledged that these are installed only on a few models. E.g. all Lufthansa aircraft of the A320 family they said are equipped with such filters. On other aircraft there are HEPA filters that can only filter specific particles, i.e. virusses and bacteria. VOCs are not filtered out by HEPA filters.

A sustainable solution needed more research and time  (they said) ...

The problem has been known since the 1950s. How much more time do you want to take at our expense?

Then they tried to appease us, or shine their light, saying that Lufthansa is already doing more than required by law.

Is the responsibility being shifted to politics?

Just because legislature does not demand anything, the employers are not dismissed from their responsibility when it comes to the integrity of their customers and employees!

The unbelievable behaviour of some clinics in airport vicinity was addressed, as well as the lack of understanding how the employers’ liability insurance association (BG) deals with sick colleagues.

I have not heard of any recognized cases of long-term ill-health victims - only (acute) cases  from a few days to weeks are recognized, which are considered to be ‚completed’ after the crew member returns to flying.

Another issue was the inadequate amount of smoke hoods onboard and that it would be desirable for each crewmember to have one available.

Captain Raimund MÜLLER who spoke for the management tried to give us an explanation such as, that the smoke hoods are only to be used after specific instruction from the cockpit ... upon which loud and heated protests arose from the audience.

So you see – there was some ‚fire’ in it ...

I was really enthusiastic about the many colleagues who consistently asked critical questions on the topic and who refused to be intimidated by the presence of management.


The loud and approving applause of all colleagues at the end, will maybe get one or the other LH representative thinking ...

(Written by a flight attendant known to the staff of ENATLB)

November 8th, 2017

Dutch TV channel ZEMBLA picks up Fume Event Incidents and Gagging Order Clause

KLM attempts to sanction or threaten its pilot, Willem FELDERHOF, with a € 300,000  fine and damages in the event that he voices : "his opinion, his views and the facts regarding the air quality in KLM airliners in connection with his health condition, employment conditions and ‘aerotoxic syndrome’”, in public.

Regardless of this, information with the hush-money clause  has reached the Dutch TV broadcaster  ZEMBLA, who took up the subject and published it on November 8th in the third program. Part two is scheduled for November 15 at  9:15pm on NPO2.

October 26th, 2017

Lufthansa and the topic 'Underreporting'  

We had given up on it: to document when and how often so-called fume events happen. After three months (1.1 - 31.3.2017) of regular reporting of (only) known incidents we realized that there is systematic underreporting. A continuation of such documentation would be inefficient since there are other’s who do that. For example Aviation Herald’s Simon HRADECKI

Today we are making an exception and are picking up Aviation Herald’s report of the day : 2 incidents’ that are closely related: Lufthansa flight LH-447 with Boeing 747-400, registration D-ABVW, on the 20th. / 21st October.  On the way from Denver to Frankfurt a fume event happened even before the aircraft  took off: when the engines were started. "Technical problems", they said, plus an hour waiting time, resp. delay. Passengers noticed, that all doors remained open during this time - apparently to 'air' the plane. 

Straight after take-off the typical smell appeared again - the flight was continued. As one knows by now: upon beginning of descent the unmistakable smell appeared again. Members of the crew, but also passengers complained about typical symptoms: neausea, headaches, irritation of the eyes or vision issues.  

Upon Aviation Herald’s inquiry, the BFU had to admit that – as so often -  they knew nothing of this incident. Nobody had reported it.  It became known, that on the same aircraft, on October18./19. , two days before  this incident, a fume event had already occurred. With the same consequences for passengers and crew. This fume event however, had become known to the BFU.  But as usual in these cases: because the passengers had not been informed about the actual reason, apparently no one had gone to see a doctor - not even the crew. 

So the airline can be 'satisfied': there is no medical documentation for either incident which the Aviation Herald classifies as "accident" (rather than incident). So no medical proof of any consequences. 

More about that at Aviation Herald.

October 20th, 2017

"Fume Events: Airlines in state of alert"

This is the heading of an article on the DocCheck news site, which now is also dealing with the problem. It seems that the topic has now also arrived at this medical network.