Fume Events Worldwide


This is the central page, where you can get information concerning the research project "Risk Perception through Media Resonance and Public Discourse" and where you can read first results.

This page is a direct link to www.ansTageslicht.de/Fume-Events-Worldwide 

Preliminary Remarks

The term "fume event" does not really describe the facts, because only in the rarest of cases such an event produces smoke, haze or fumes. It does not always have a noticeable smell either (e.g. pungent). The term "Cabin Air Contamination Event" (CACE) would be more appropriate, as has been suggested by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dieter SCHOLZ /University of Applied Sciences (HAW) in Hamburg, because the breathing air for cabin and cockpit is contaminated.

We’ll use both terms or their abbreviations: "FE", because this term is currently common knowledge, and "Cabin Air Contamination Event (CACE)", because this term describes the problem more accurately. We will also speak of "contaminated cabin air“.

A similar „problem“ applies to the term "aerotoxic syndrome". This wording has been accepted in general, although it is - officially - not recognised. It is not unusual however, that specific clinical sequelea which can present in different ways are initially referred to as a "syndrome". This was the case, for example, with the injury caused by wood preservatives in the 1980s ("wood preservative syndrome") or solvent-injured people, also known as "painter's disease" ("solvent syndrome"). In the meantime, both disease patterns have been officially confirmed. It will be no different with the term "aerotoxic syndrome".

The Research Project "Risk Perception"

The underlying problem:

It took about 90 years to ban asbestos, the hazardous and deathly material. But first the number of asbestos deaths had to rise to several tens of thousands. It went faster with pentachlorophenol (PCP) and the dioxins it contains: „only“ 40 years. In this case - after the deployment of "Agent Orange" in Vietnam - help came in form of an event in Europe, which was, however, only recognised after some delay: Seveso.

The public discussion about the harm from diesel engines only really got going when the VW Diesel fraud came to light - the USA set the pace, not German authorities. The danger of so-called Fume Events or Cabin Air Contamination Events in aircraft, when toxic substances enter the cabin, is not discussed at all - although the problem has been known for over 60 years and is potentially virulent. And regularly claims victims.

That is why the research project is named:

"Risk perception through media coverage and public discourse. Perception processes and their determinants in asbestos, PCP/dioxin, diesel engine emissions and fume events".

The following questions are to be answered:

  1. What are the prerequisites for hazardous substances and work-related health problems to enter public perception?
  2. What are the blockades?
  3. What are the connections?
  4. And why do politicians always react (much) too late?

This research project is linked to the Competence Center Communication (CCCOM) of the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW): www.haw-cc.com/Risikowahrnehmung.

In the following, we present the first results prepared in a journalistical form, but scientifically analysed:

The first results - bundled in four main topics

Each of these four main topics is composed of many individual aspects, which we also call "chapters". The four most important issues first:

If you have called up a more detailed site, you can always return to this overview by using the return button.

The first results, according to their aspects:

  • Flying at an altitude of 10 km means that many conditions are different to ground conditions or those in the mountains. How  exactly the cabin air is tapped via the turbines can be found at:
    What is different when flying at 10 km altitude? here in EN
  • How it all began with jet engines and why synthetic engine oils had to be produced for them, and how the health problem became a certainty through "Cabin Air Contamination Events" (Fume Events), we reconstructed in a:
    Chronology of the Aerotoxic Syndrome (in EN)
  • Most of the incidents are not published. And often they are not even reported to the responsible authorities - there is no standardised or prescribed reporting procedure. That is why there are no accurate figures. It is estimated that 1 Cabin Air Contamination Event/Fume Event occurs per 2,000 flights. For Lufthansa that would be ten such events per week:
    Incidents, most of which do not show up in the official statistics (EN)
  • We have compiled a summary of  how affected pilots or flight attendants feel at Victims Affected by Contaminated Cabin Air as well as in detail on a single pilot's fate:
    Once a pilot - never again a pilot (EN)

These are the most critical aspects related to such incidents and the problems they cause - in terms of air traffic safety and health consequences.

One would now assume (or want to believe) that medicine and its scientific disciplines would step in when health problems arise. This is only (very) partially the case. And that is why the following aspects became a second research topic: Sick through work.


  • when a new clinical picture emerges in general medicine, it is recognized as a problem and physicians immediately start working on solutions, i.e. therapies. 
    However, if a clinical picture emerges in connection with the workplace, then the symptoms will, of course, be treated. But then it falls within the scope of "occupational medicine". And that area works entirely differently. At least when it comes to work-related occupational illnesses or even occupational disability.
    The focus is now less on therapy and more on the question of proof of causality: Can the person concerned prove that he/she has become ill at and/or as a result of the workplace? In other words: Can contamination of the cabin air in aircraft or in the cockpit cause illness?
    We have described the elementary differences of the medical self-image under
    Human medicine versus occupational medicine (in DE)
  • At the centre of this shadowy realm, which few people know about, is one university and an extraordinary occupational medicine philosophy that has been setting the tone in this industry for decades. And it still does to this day. Even when it applies to the health consequences of contaminated cabin air:
    The Erlangen VALENTIN School: How to organize the "prevailing opinion" (DE).
  • This 'school' has played a less than glorious role in all hazardous substances and problems when the health of employees* is the focus of attention. It was the case with asbestos, mercury, PCP and dioxin, and passive smoking. And today it is the question of the consequences of contaminated cabin air for illness. The 'scientific' discussion follows a uniform pattern: described under
    An Undercovering of Tricks, Methods and Strategies, how to downplay fume events in EN
  • For those who do not want to believe all this, we recommend three concrete examples, which we have reconstructed in detail. Among them is the current vice president of the most important industry association, the German Association for Occupational and Environmental Medicine (DGAUM):
    One expert witness - 2 opinions: Prof. Dr. med. Stephan LETZEL in EN

What can be done?

Sustainable solutions always require precise knowledge of the actual problem.

  • What you can do, no matter if you are a pilot, flight attendant or a frequent flyer, if you get into a „Cabin Air Contamination Event“ (Fume Event), we have compiled at
    The abbreviation WKMT stands for What Can One Do, and AETX for Aerotoxic Syndrome.

  • What you can and should do in general if you have become sick or incapacitated at and/or through your workplace and now find yourself in the shadowy realm is described in detail at www.ansTageslicht.de/WKMT

This guide is updated on an regular basis, with the help of occupational health practitioners who practice a different philosophy from the mainstream, and with experienced lawyers.

The research project "Risk Perception": among other things as participatory observation

Scientific methods are very different and depend, among other things, on the scientific discipline and the answer to the question of the most effective way to face an unsolved problem of knowledge.

The analysis of perception processes of asbestos, PCP/dioxin can be studied historically.

The current problem of contaminated cabin air only in a limited way - it continues. And little is happening. Therefore we use the method of "participatory observation".

Meaning: We take action, ask questions, push one or the other button to see if and if yes, what happens. But from a distance.

We document these working steps and processes in a short blog, the Aerotoxic Logbook at
www.ansTageslicht.de/EN-ATLB in EN.

All of the content available in English is bundled and provided at www.ansTageslicht.de/Cabinair

Contact, questions, information

If you have any questions or relevant information, please contact us. You will find the address data at the very bottom of the imprint. If you want to contact us personally, you can. More at: How you can communicate with us safely.

You can contact the project manager and person responsible for this site, Prof. Dr. Johannes LUDWIG, at

Site has been translated by Bernairdine BEAUMONT, www.aerotoxicteam.com and www.airbird.ch

Do not forget

This page is a direct link to www.ansTageslicht.de/Fume-Events-Worldwide