The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is studying how human safety and health risks are related to cabin air quality.
Convened by CASA, the Expert Panel on Aircraft Air Quality (EPAAQ) wants aircrew, union, independent and public comments, as much as possible by 15 June 2009. EPAAQ is studying the potential health effects of exposure to contaminated cabin air in aircraft. A final report is expected by the first quarter of 2010.
Contaminated cabin air is a flight safety issue because most commercial aircraft lack detection and filtration systems against a neurotoxic and immunotoxic organophosphate chemical, tricresyl phosphate (TCP).
TCP is found in most jet engine oils and hydraulic fluids. Cabin air is contaminated whenever these liquids leak past worn or faulty oil seals into the cabin air supply.
This is an opportunity to make submissions to an objective, international inquiry.
Aircrew unions continue to raise awareness about the issue. Members are being asked to submit documentation about health and safety concerns, health and medical data where applicable, incident data or frequency, and knowledge about the problem.
A simple survey has been prepared to assist people with their submissions.
For those new to the contaminated cabin air debate, OHS Canada Magazine has published a well-researched article.
Repeated low level exposures and major “fume events” have been linked to increased environmental sensitivity and are known to have caused the onset of serious health problems. For many people, the combination of multiple exposures and the interaction of the numerous chemicals in contaminated cabin air have contributed to a new condition called “Aerotoxic Syndrome”. Misdiagnoses have occurred whenever short and long term symptoms for multiple body systems are treated in isolation. Links to current issues, medical guidelines and resources are available at the Aerotoxic Association web site.