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?

Other initiatives providing information on the contaminated air issue you can get here (right side).

Beginning of May 2019

In March we had addressed the CSU's transport policy spokesman in the European Parliament, Markus FERBER, who in connection with the crash of two Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft had clearly criticised EASA because the authorities had known about the problems of this type of aircraft. But, they said nothing, published nothing and warned no one which is a typical behavior of regulators whose employees are exclusively concerned with their service regulations and have no empathy for potentially injured parties. Markus FERBER had said: "A flight safety authority that classifies a software error as a risk only after two planes have crashed is a risk for the citizen himself".

We brought Markus FERBER's attention to the problem of potentially contaminated cabin air and he replied:

  • That he agrees that "this issue deserves more public attention".
  • That the EP had on many occasions pointed out to the commission that "this problem should be examined"
  • who therefore commissioned an investigation by EASA
  • the results of which should be available in December of this year.
  • And this is because the Commission is demanding that "events containing unusual odours and smoke must be reported in accordance with Regulation EU No. 376/2014".

FERBER writes:

"I believe that EASA - like any authority - must be closely watched and that one should not hesitate to point out shortcomings and errors. The issue of potentially contaminated cabin air is of great interest to me, I will follow the publication of the study results critically at the end of the year".

We will support Markus FERBER.

18th March 2019

 EASA and Flight Safety Prevention

What is to be thought of the reliability and usefulness of EASA in this respect, EASA boss Patrick KY shared at the Transport Committee of the European Parliament (TRAN) on March 18th: After the fatal crash of a Boeing 737 Max 8 of the Indonesian airline Lion Air in October 2018, EASA knew already a short while afterward about the problems of the not really working MCAS software and the insufficient training of the pilots in handling it. KY now had to admit this in response to questions from MEPs.

No warning followed on the part of EASA. Also, this potential problem was obviously not communicated at all.

Instead, there was now a second crash of such an aircraft of Ethiopian Airlines on March 10th causing 157 deaths. And only now the EASA comes out with such information - after parliamentary inquiries and pressure.

Markus FERBER, the European CSU's Transport Spokesman in the EU Parliament, has a clear opinion on this issue:

"A flight safety authority that only considers a software error a risk only after two aircraft have crashed represents a risk for the citizen himself".

We now want to hear from Markus FERBER whether he also wants to ask EASA about the contaminated cabin air problem. 

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.

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".