Whilst not officially recognised, more and more cases of “Aerotoxic syndrome” are being reported, and cases continue to raise concerns over air quality inside flight cabins.
Over the past decade, a number of shocking incidents have occurred where pilots have almost collapsed from fumes, and planes have been turned around with crew members falling sick. In the past few years, a handful of flights had to perform emergency landings.
Pilots, crew members and passengers may all be at risk when exposed to engine fumes inside a tightly compressed cabin space, thousands of feet in the air. The dangers are real…
According to flight crew and passengers who have had the horrific experience, the fumes smell like burning and dirty socks; and it’s not like you can even pop a window open for some fresh air.
Cabin air is “bled” in from the engines where some of the air that goes towards the turbines is directed into the cabin whilst being pressurised accordingly. Analysts believe that seals on engine lubricants can fail and drip hot engine oil into the air that is being “bled” into the cabin.
The oil contains Tricresyl Phosphate which is toxic to breathe in and can cause an abundance of symptoms and health problems including:
|Feeling lightheaded||Fainting||Carbon Monoxide poisoning||Visual problems and irritation|
|Irritation to respiratory system||Tinnitus||Headaches||Hair loss|
|Joint pain||Aching muscles||Digestion issues||Nosebleeds|
|Fatigue||Palpitations||Tingling in hands and feet|
It’s alleged that British Airways pilot, Richard Westgate, may have had Aerotoxic Syndrome and died from it. So why haven’t we heard more about it?
The Airline Industry is worth hundreds of billions of pounds. Planes are expensive investments and the possible defect that may be causing contaminated air to come into a cabin cannot always be fixed; if that is the case, the entire plane may have to be taken out of service.
You can see why airlines may not be keen on admitting there is potentially a problem, and having to pay settlements and disrupt services. This could be a major influencing factor as to why many studies completed by private and public bodies appear reluctant to recognise Aerotoxic syndrome. Without recognition, victims are often led to think their symptoms were unrelated, which is a real cause for concern.
Has this happened to you?
If you are a passenger, you board a plane in the expectation that the aircraft is safe for use and that crew members are there to make sure you are not in any danger. You can expect the air is controlled and clean for breathing; especially as you have no option to breathe any other air. You don’t expect to be in a confined space breathing in toxic fumes and worrying that pilots are experiencing the same thing and may collapse whilst in control of the aircraft.
As a pilot or a crew member, your employer has a legal obligation to provide a safe workplace. Pilots should not have to worry about being exposed to toxic fumes in confined cockpits, and the same applies for crew members too.
If you believe you have previously suffered due to contaminated air in the cabin, please don’t dismiss any symptoms, and see a healthcare professional. Finally, speak to our team here at the Group Action Lawyers as we may be able to assist you with legal action should you choose to take it.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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