Poison in the Airplane? Fume Events, Contaminated Cabin Air and Aerotoxic Syndrome

Some amendments of cultural history on the topic "Flying is safe"

The technical problem is well known in the industry: the air in an airplane is tapped from the turbines. Turbines - more precisely: the engines - are high performance engines that require a special lubricant to keep them from running hot: synthetic oils. I.e. one of the ingredients: an organophosphate–base used for pesticides and chemical warfare agents, TCP (tricresyl phosphate), is highly toxic.  Banned ages ago in car engine oils, this nerve poison is an integral part in jet engine oil. We know about more than 50 other potentially health hazardeous substances. For example, evaporated hydraulic fluids or in winter, de-icing fluids. In their normal state they hardly pose any particular problem,  but at 400°C and more,  the effects are quite different. And that’s where the next problems begin: for the health of everybody who flies.

You can access and link to this topic directly: www.ansTageslicht.de/cabinair. We document recent larger incidents, but especially current developments regarding this problem in our Aero-Toxic Log book: www.ansTageslicht.de/ENATLB.

We recommend to: read first why we are dealing with this topic - here  is the very first chapter which is forthcoming end of January 2018.

The German version is available at www.ansTageslicht.de/Kabinenluft 

Contaminated cabin air: a health problem becomes certainty. The chronology of the socalled Aerotoxic Syndrome

It all started with the jet plane. And the turbines: synthetic oils that contain nerve toxins are needed - a health risk, if there are any glitches. And they are more common than one realizes. In the following you can find a chronology, as to how manufacturers, airlines, politicians and authorities deal with it; and with the people's health.


"Incidents": Incidents that do not usually appear in official statistics

It is not always as shown here on a Boeing 757 flight on September 17, 2010 : visible smoke-like fumes and a pungent stench in the whole plane ("fume event“). Sometimes there is only a smell ("smell event") and usually not even that. Nevertheless: the risk always flies along with you. And it is most dangerous if you do not notice it. Because you can not take any counter-measures when it’s too late.


Health, Science and Economic interests in Aerotoxic Syndrome

Health and science, respectively medicine are allies: the more you know, the better you can help. Even better: prevent. However, this is only possible if one takes an objective approach and accepts problems or uncertainties as such - as long as one does not know any better. However, when medicine and science serve (and are supposed to) serve specific interests, most of the time the health suffers. As it does with the aerotoxic syndrome.