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. We have the cultural history on 'Flying is safe' and the ongoing problems investigated at www.ansTageslicht.de/cabinair (EN).

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 - German) 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?

December 2nd, 2018

Now we've reconstructed everything: How a WDR documentary "Nervengift im Flugzeug"(Nerve Toxins in Aircraft)  turned into 2 (different) films – all directed by Tim van BEVEREN. The WDR film disappeared in to their archive. TvB's cinema production is available on DVD or via streaming: unfiltered breathed in.

WDR did not answer our questions, although they had a week to do so. Due to that we can't finally clarify what the public broadcaster’s understanding by "fact check" is - maybe just 'alternative facts'?

The whole story can be found here www.ansTageslicht.de/WDR  (translation in progress)

November 2018

Once again we received a not very enlightning answer from the BFU. But that is obviously not what this authority is about.

On August 13th of this year, we wanted to find out why the co-pilot of the Germanwings aircraft, which had apparently been involved in a severe fume event on December 19th, 2010 while in the landing phase to Cologne-Bonn Airport (view www.ansTageslicht.de/Germanwings), was not allowed to see a medical report  about his state of health, which was made a whole year later. After this incident, the co-pilot was unfit to fly for over six months,  the captain was able to return to flying just four days later. A typical situation, showing how people’s bodies with their genetic pre-/dispositions metabolize or detox foreign substances differently.

The first answer referred to data protection reason:  because of the need to guarantee the protection of sensitive security information in accordance with Art. 14 of Regulation (EU) 996/2010. Not necessarily comprehensible when someone wants to know the medical results of his own state of health.

Furthermore, we received the answer (which we could not really understand, which is why we repeated the question - in the mean time twice -): That the expert opinion evaluated and compared the facts which are interwoven due to the captain and the co-pilot having experienced the same event. The listing of the clinical data of two people in one medical report does not make sense to us. For data protection reasons, one could black out all the information that the other should not see, which is a common procedure.

For this reason we asked again why this did not happen. And also, if we were to understand the BFU's statement, that the expert opinion considers both the captain and the co-pilot in terms of content at the same time and ‚interwoven’, due to experiencing the same event in such a way,  that the clinical data of both were continuously compared and intertwined? And if that was the case, why was that done? We documented these questions on November 7th.

We have received an answer to that, which we summarize here. We would like to spare our readers’ the trouble of trying to figure out the somewhat cumbersome answers.

The BFU press office answered our question no. 1, whether we were to understand the first answer (that the report considers both pilots together), in such a way that all clinical data are continuously interwoven with each other, with:

Instead of answering yes or no (for clarity), they convolute a series of 143 words and numbers to - 853. „Yes“ would have meant 2, „No“  would have been 4 characters. And the original explanatory phrase also reappears in the bundle, to which we had requested an answer for reasons of clarity (see above).

According to the BFU, our question as to whether this was intentionally done and/or whether it was customary for the BFU to do so, was unnecessary, as it was answered in the set of explanatory 143 words.

However (answer to our questions 5 and 6), in such cases the persons concerned can view a draft of the final report, which they could comment on.

‚Report’ however does not mean that it includes the medical opinion, only the final report of the investigation of the "event" in question. So, that what is not (or should not be) included in the final report must not be revealed to those affected. At any rate, the BFU's wording on this point is crystal clear.

22nd November 2018

The Bundestag Transport Committee has no "capacities" for the problems of statutory accident insurance and Fume Events

We had written to the four relevant committees of the Bundestag following the Federal Government's response to the Greens' question on these two aspects (entry dated 18th September), in order to find out whether they could identify contradictions in the Federal Government's responses which we have seen, and 2) whether they were of the opinion that the "own research" of the German Statutory Accident Insurance (DGUV) could be regarded as independent. Here you can read the cover letter and the 4 questions.

The first commitee has replied: "A further answer" is "not possible due to lack of capacity". Instead, the office refers to a Bundestag page where one can look up all previous  minutes from many legislative periods from this commitee.

This says a lot about the perception of the subject we are discussing in the committee’s office. We will now put our questions directly to the representatives of the political groups.

November 2018

Judgement of the Labour Court Cologne

It is now known that two flight attendants who claim to have suffered injury to their health because they were exposed to cabin air contamination for 45 minutes, lost their case before the Labour Court in Cologne: They claimed damages because their airline acted "intentionally". In concrete terms, such an incident had even occurred the day before.

The airline and the judges argued that the aircraft operator subsequently undertook a technical review and therefore no longer could expect that a new incident would occur the next day. Therefore, intent could be excluded and only in such cases the employer could be held liable according to § 104 SGB VII.

Therefore, the court did not have to examine whether there was a scientifically justified connection at all.

We are currently trying to find out what exactly the technical examination consisted off, e.g. whether the manufacturer’s instructions in the operating manual were followed, or whether - as is usually the case - it was just a small mini-check.

If there are clear recommendations or instructions in the operating manual but no action has been taken, the argument "no intent" would be untenable.

10th November

Answer from the Federal Government to a ‚small inquiry’

In the mean time the Federal Government has answered a ‚small inquiry’ submitted by the parliamentary group BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN, asking about the numbers of fume event occurrences: Printed matter 19/4443.

 As always, the Federal Government's answer is: They have little information and apparently want to know even less.

As it is,  also known from USA,  incidents are under-reported.  There are no mandatory reporting channels. Airlines are also 'not amused' about reports, because a reasonably effective cleaning of the air conditioning system and/or an exchange of the so-called ducts between engine and air conditioning system means considerable delays in further deployment of the aircraft. This means on one hand costs, on the other hand loss of revenue. Also for this reason experience has shown, that only some of such incidents are reported. Also considering that in most cases they are probably  (only?) less dramatic "odour events".

The considerable differences between reported incidents and actual incidents have been pointed out as examples under "Incidents“, which usually do not appear in official statistics.

Parliamentary State Secretary Steffen BILGER (CDU) answered on behalf of the Federal Government this question: "What is the Federal Government planning to do to ensure that as many fume events as possible are reported?

"The Federal Government has no evidence that Fume Events that have to be reported are not reported. Therefore, no additional measures are planned."

And the answer to the question: "To what extent is the Federal Government considering the nationwide mandatory introduction of breathing air filters that remove organophosphates and volatile organic compounds?“

"The specific substances that may contaminate cabin air have not yet been sufficiently identified or known. Only when these have been fully identified it is possible and effective to develop an appropriate filter."

The passenger association „Vereinigung Passagiere“ (VP) comments on this as follows:

"Parts of the aviation industry are more aware of the problem than the German government, because airlines such as EasyJet and Lufthansa are already testing such filter systems," (quote VP).

In fact, EasyJet in particular wants to equip all its planes with filters from Pall in the New Year (see entry from 20.9.2017 which can be found quickly when entering "EasyJet" in the search-bar). The airline announced this last year at the conference about contaminated cabin air/ aerotoxic syndrome in London.

The Federal Government and the Ministry of Transport have no idea about this and apparently also not about the two EASA studies. And, obviously they don't want to know anything.