Aerotoxicity: Toxic air for passengers and airplane crews

by Sepp Hasslberger

'The air we breathe in airplanes has to be pressurized to allow us to survive at the normal cruising altitude of around 10,000 meters, roughly 33,000 feet. No big problem, air can be compressed and heated so passengers and crew can breathe ... but there is a hitch: The compressed air in those airplane cabins has - since about the 60's - been taken from the air that the planes' jets compress before burning it together with the fuel to fly that plane.

'Of course there is no guarantee that this air doesn't contain engine oil fumes - it often does. The thing most people don't know is that there are no filters between the engine and the cabin that could clean the air. Jet engine oil is a highly toxic brew containing organophosphates. Is it any surprise that cabin crew and passengers may suffer from "unexplained" toxic effects called the Aerotoxic Syndrome?

'Nexus Magazine had a great article in its most recent edition, which explains why passengers and crew at times suffer from unexplained headaches and other symptoms of toxicity.

'The Nexus article is written by Captain John Hoyte, a former airplane pilot who had to stop piloting planes because the toxic effects got the better of him. His health suffered to a point where he could no longer trust himself to safely ferry his passengers from one airport to the other. He is now the chairman of the Aerotoxic Association, a group he founded to make others aware of the problem and to bring about a solution - a much needed change in the attitude of airline executives and airplane makers...

The article is titled Aerotoxic Syndrome - Aviation's Best Kept Secret and is available from the Aerotoxic Association's website.'


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