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?

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.  

9th November 2018

As has now become known, the Bundestag’s Scientific Service has made a compilation of the question:

"Which legal requirements in Germany or at the level of the European Union would have to be specifically changed in order to oblige operators and/or manufacturers of civil passenger aircraft to install appropriate filter systems?“

Two institutions have commented on this.

1) The Federal Ministry of Transport refers to the competence of EASA and notes that the BFU has knowledge "that Fume events with the usual appearance characteristics also occur at airlines which already use filters". However, the BMVI does not give an exact source.

2) The most detailed statement comes from the Vereinigung Cockpit Association (VC)  (pages 5&6): VC points out that there are already sufficient EU regulations, namely the EU Directives 98/24/EC and 89/391/EEC "on the protection of the health and safety of workers from the risks related to chemical agents at work".

These would be implemented in all sectors (chemical industry, hazardous goods, noise protection) because fines would also be imposed. But not in aviation.

Therefore, no legal regulations would have to be changed or newly drawn up. Only existing regulations would have to be observed. But: "Neither the licensing authorities check compliance, nor the supervisory authorities see themselves obliged to do so." quote VC.

Here are the documents:

  • Scientific Service: Measures against so-called Fume Events
  • previous Bundestag document Precautions for the prevention of Fume Events. On p. 6  the reference can be found, that the EASA denies a connection between Fume Events and health consequences, because a study done by the Cranford University in 2011 on 100 flights (in words: one hundred) with five „large aircraft types "could not prove any so-called fume events with health-damaging concentrations".

7th November 2018

The BFU has answered - instead of answers: 2 complaints

We had sent several queries to the BFU with entry date 13th August. We quoted from the first answer the BFU gave us, which we wanted to have clarified. These were our questions, but instead of clear answers to our questions, the BFU Press Office complains.

Allegation no.1:

That we had published their answers, which could only be seen as factual information, as quotations.

You have to know that press offices are usually dissatisfied with the media and journalists, if they either don't write what the Press Office would like them to write, or if there is a critical follow-up. In this respect, the BFU's complaint is nothing unusual.

However, there is no legal entitlement for an authority not to publish its answers as quotes. Nevertheless, they are obliged to provide information.

It is common practice that the media like to quote such answers, or parts of them. And has its reasons to remain as close as possible to what an authority answers. And also not to have to expose oneself to the accusation that one has not correctly reproduced the information. The fact that one or the other authority tries to enforce its own modalities of reproduction is explained by the fact that authorities are basically monopolies. And they forget that they are - actually - service providers: for people, including the media. But this obviously does not go well with the BFU's official culture.

Allegation no.2:

That we published only a part of their last answer, omitting the decisive part.

Presumably, (but we don't yet know exactly why we have to ask again to gain clarity), we didn't clearly understand one of their phrases and therefore verified it beforehand because, from our point of view, it was rather "nebulous",  at least not to be understood clearly, namely: That the medical opinion in question, which the pilot in question is not allowed to see, is obviously constantly mixed with the clinical information of both pilots, i.e. that of the captain and the co-pilot. And that is why the co-pilot - for data protection reasons so to speak - cannot find out what concerns him alone.

That's why we asked again today:

1.       Does your reference to the fact that the medical report considers both the pilot and the co-pilot in terms of content and inseparably with the view to the shared event perhaps mean, that the medical report is written linguistically in such a way that the clinical data of both pilots are continuously compared and interwoven with each other?

2.        Would it have been possible for the co-pilot to have (or be allowed to) learn about his own data by anonymizing the data of his colleague.

3.       If the latter would not have been possible: Was this deliberately arranged in such a way that neither pilot could (or was allowed to) learn anything about the clinical results?

4.       If option no.3 does not apply: Is it customary for the BFU, when commissioning medical reports in such cases, to ensure that patients are not allowed to know anything about their state of health?

5.       If it is not customary at BFU for patients not to have access to their personal medical findings: Why, then, was it not ensured in this specific case that those affected were allowed to know what the Air Force's Aeromedical Institute had determined about their physical condition?

6.       Can the BFU imagine that in such cases, those affected might have a legitimate interest in finding out exactly what the medical results are and how they came about methodically - irrespective of the information mentioned in the final report starting on page 30?

And we concluded, that we did not consider the Press Office's announcement that its complaints no.1 and no.2 were no basis for further cooperation or exchange with us, as a threat.

Perhaps the press office of the BFU meant it as such. But authorities are basically obliged to provide information. And if they think that as a monopoly they can decide for themselves who they want to give information to and  who they don't want to give it to, then information can quite easily be forced through an administrative court. But it will probably not (have to) come to that.

We will continue to report.

October 17th, 2018

British coroners to look out for toxic cabin air effects in their investigations

In connection with the investigation of a deceased former flight attendant, the responsible coroner (official investigator into deaths) has asked the chief coroner to look into such cases in the future to verify whether the contaminated cabin air might have played a roll.

The British trade union UNITE, which is currently involved in more than 100 court cases concerning injuries to the health of flight crew, wants to take this opportunity to publicly discuss this fundamental problem, which airlines and manufacturers are still largely ignoring.

More under ‚Call for Public Inquiry’ following coroner’s warning of toxic cabin air

20th June, 2018

Lufthansa - BG Verkehr und Laboratory Technician ROSENBERGER: a perpetuum mobile

How industrially controlled research in connection with cabin air functions in Germany, is now also available as a graphic. LH finances BG Verkehr (as do others) on the one hand , on the other hand also the research (as do others) at the Hannover Medical School MHH. They can rely on Wolfgang ROSENBERGER’s results, to which Lufthansa themselves and BG Verkehr regularly refer, for example, in their refusal notices concerning applications for the recognition of the consequential health damages after fume events.

ROSENBERGER - respectively his former boss, who is now retired - works (as do others) in the spirit of the VALENTIN School of Erlangen, now in the fourth generation. (more here: www.ansTageslicht.de/Valentin). Its outstanding characteristic is - and always has been - its openly demonstrated closeness to the professional occupational liability associations.

The graphic in English can be opened here by clicking on it or via the link www.ansTageslicht.de/werwiewaswarum (there in German).