What is Aerotoxic Syndrome?
Danger in the Air
When flying as a passenger in a commercial jet aircraft is there any danger in breathing in the air? Although you will be told aircraft air is pretty clean – cleaner than the air in your home and office, is this always true?
Except for the Boeing B.787 Dreamliner, commercial aircraft pump all the air we breathe from a place deep inside each jet engine, only separated from hot jet engine oil by seals that get worn and should be replaced at regular intervals but owing to the cost of doing so these intervals in maintenance have tended to become longer and longer. When these seals become worn, toxic contaminant particles and gas can now get from the oil into the aircraft air in increasing number.
The poisonous gas carbon monoxide, certain other potentially toxic compounds including organophosphates in small amounts, and finally ultrafine particles are found in aircraft air – unfortunately, none of these are large enough to be stopped by filters. The airline industry appears not to have investigated these issues nor has it provided reliable evidence.
The poisonous items in the aircraft air vary in concentration according to how worn the sealing systems have become. On occasion, so many contaminants enter the air, a ‘fume event’ occurs – here the air may have started to smell and can become visibly hazy. The only way to find out the true state of aircraft air is to fit equipment that can continuously monitor and record the presence of these toxic items in real time.
This is urgent, as a growing number of people (passengers, flight attendants and pilots) have been and are getting ill. They present with a number of unusual but distressingly persistent complaints that affect many parts of their body in particular the brain and nervous system.
Many affected staff have been told officially they must be imagining this. Meanwhile in 1999, this group of illnesses was published as Aerotoxic Syndrome. In order to alleviate this state of affairs, medical protocols designed by experts should be in place, and equipment such as oxygen and other remedies should be provided to sufferers both in the aircraft and when they land. Those patients who have suffered should not be discounted. They should be offered what medical support there is both for them and their families.
Meanwhile the design fault that allows incoming air anywhere near hot jet engine oil needs to be re-designed in all aircraft jet engines in the future.
Abstract published in the public interest on 18 June 2022 @ 1100 UTC by: ‘A Group’ Flight Attendant Deanne DeWitt Freise with 30 years of experience investigating and advocating for improving cabin air quality in aircraft. Captain John Hoyte, Chairman Aerotoxic Association The Charity (2007) Former BAe 146 Training Captain firstname.lastname@example.org & Captain John Lind former US Aviation insurer assessor & A Group spokesman & Advocate email@example.com
Stay tuned for another important update due for publication on Thursday 14th July 2022
2019 Cabin Event
The term Aerotoxic Syndrome describes acquired acute & chronic ill health caused by exposure to toxic oil fumes present in the breathing air of most commercial jets. Unaware, thousands of people suffer every day, without knowing about this hidden health and safety hazard.
A US doctor and scientists from France, Australia were the first to identify Aerotoxic Syndrome in 1999. The hidden illness is known to affect the central nervous system and brain, causing a range of acute symptoms and long-term ill-health in around 30% of all flyers.
An oil fume event was photographed by passengers on a flight from London Heathrow to Valencia in August 2019.
Aerotoxic Association Founder Captain John Hoyte
John is a career pilot who began flying in 1976 with a varied international flying teaching career but ceased flying BAe146’s jets prematurely after 16 years because of increasingly severe neurological & physical symptoms with ‘Chronic stress’ in mid-2005.
In early 2006, John was tested by University College London (UCL) along with 26 other British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) pilots, 100% of whom showed evidence of Toxic Air exposure, which was later published by Dr Sarah Mackenzie Ross of UCL.
John founded the Aerotoxic Association Ltd. Charity in 2007 to help support other survivors (both aircrew & passengers) and to work with international groups such as the Global Cabin Air Quality Executive (GCAQE) which was formed in 2006 to counter the still existing formal position of ‘No positive evidence’ by governments and industry.
Many international professional groups now work for the formal acceptance of Aerotoxic Syndrome as an Occupational Disease, the illness was first defined in 1999 by a US doctor, a forensic scientist from France and an Australian toxicologist and for the urgent introduction of the known and now available technical solutions such as filtration and monitors which is in the public interest.
John has published evidence, which is in the public interest of anyone who flies in unfiltered & unmonitored bleed air jets on aerotoxic.org since 2007. He has recovered most of his previous excellent health due to pioneering Simulator Flying and other public flight entertainment systems from 2015-2019 and now holds a Class 2 Aviation medical certificate and looks forward to return to his lifelong passion of flying.
John has helped fund & produce educational films and published books on Aerotoxic & his flying career.
John recently presented the Associations/Unions ‘Wish list’ for some of the 1.5 million Euros for ‘Further research’ into toxic cabin air to Airlines, Manufacturers, Researchers & Regulators at EASA’s (European Union Aviation Safety Agency) first ever ‘Cabin Air’ workshop in Cologne, Germany in January 2020.
If you are interested in professional consultation into any aspects of aerotoxic syndrome, please contact John – but please note that he is NOT medically or legally qualified to offer medical or legal advice or treatments, which are carried out by other specialist experts.
18th June 2007 The Launch of Aerotoxic Association Ltd. The Charity (2007) Non-profit. At Houses of Parliament, London.
LHS. Capt. John Hoyte Paper – Dr. Susan Michaelis Tin – Capt. Tristan Loraine RHS Capt. Julian Soddy (BALPA)LPA)
Press Articles: The Shropshire Star
Grounded Angel says flying wrecked her health
For Angel Brain her job as an air stewardess was a dream which turned into a nightmare.
Pilot fights for Aerotoxic Syndrome to be officially recognised
When John Hoyte left Shropshire as a pilot in 1987 little did he know the battle he was to have with a serious illness he says was brought on by flying jets across Europe.
Shropshire pilot welcomes breakthrough in fight against debilitating syndrome
A Shropshire pilot is leading an international fight for official recognition of a debilitating syndrome affecting many flyers and has won the support of US politicians and legislators with his colleague’s campaign.
Cabin Air Quality in the News
Airlines must stop buck passing and take immediate action on toxic air
Unite, the UK and Ireland’s largest union, which represents thousands of cabin crew, is demanding airlines take immediate action to stop aerotoxic fume events occurring during flights.
File On 4: Something in the air?
In January 2020, a British Airways flight from Athens to London issued a “Mayday” emergency call when the pilot flying the plane became incapacitated during a “fume event”…
BBC: Fume events: The toxic gases that may be harming aircrew and passengers
An incident in January, when a pilot became unresponsive at the controls of a plane coming in to land at Heathrow, is just the latest in a string of potentially dangerous “fume events” going back decades, reports the BBC’s Mike Powell.
Occupational risk of organophosphates and other chemical and radiative exposure in the aircraft cabin: A systematic review
by Kevin Hayes, David Megson, Aidan Doyle, Gwen O’Sullivan.
Ex flight attendant won lawsuit over toxic air in the cabin and her battle isn’t over
Former flight attendant Evelyn van den Heuvel has won a lawsuit over her disability. she is partially incapacitated for work due to toxic substances in the cabins of aircraft in which she worked. That has been ruled by the highest court in the field of social security.
LA TIMES: We are slowly being poisoned
Tellmann and the captain parked the Airbus A319 at the gate. But they had no memory of landing or taxiing Spirit Airlines Flight 708. Tellmann went to the hospital for treatment and spent the next week at home in bed, vomiting and shaking and feeling “like a freight train had run over us,” he said in a letter to his union about the July 2015 event.
A new sensor by Teledyne – ACES has been produced
Until now, airlines haven’t had the means to record and measure the quality of their cabin environment consistently, with objective data. A new solution from Teledyne Controls focused on cabin air quality data is seeking to solve this problem. Inflight Editor Alexander Preston asks the questions.
BBC Today – 24 September 2009 ‘Can planes be poisonous?’
The BBC has been told of new research linking toxins found in the air systems of commercial airliners and neurological damage suffered by pilots.
‘I couldn’t feel my hands and legs’: Is toxic air poisoning pilots, passengers and crew?
Dutch flight attendant Evelyn van den Heuvel has flown all over the world with airline KLM, from Africa and the Americas to the Middle East and Asia, but she says all of this has come at a huge cost to her health.
H.R.7267 – Cabin Air Safety Act of 2022
A bill directly from Congress.
After Times investigation, Congress is moving to curb toxic fumes on airplanes
The airline industry would be forced to adopt new measures to protect passengers and crew members from toxic fumes on airplanes under a bill introduced in Congress this week.
Boeing settles “toxic air” case hours before the trial
For decades there have been complaints about the system most Boeing commercial planes use to pump oxygen into the cabin; But hours before the Chicago-based company is scheduled to stand trial to answer allegations that toxic air contributed to a person’s death, Boeing has settled.
Grounded Flight Attendant Say Flying Wrecked Her Health. For Angel Brain her job as an air stewardess was a dream which turned into a nightmare.
2013 Australia ABC 60 Minutes Documentary ‘Toxic Flyer’ describes Aerotoxic Syndrome in 15 mins
Toxic Airplane Cabin Air
– KJC Law Firm
The Secret Risks of Flying: Aerotoxic Syndrome Explained
– KJC Law Firm
What is Aerotoxic Syndrome?
– KJC Law Firm
Flight No. XLA 120 1st February 2007
Evidence of Aerotoxic Poisoning?
Perhaps the best chronicled European accident of “aerotoxic poisoning” to present happened on 1st February 2007 when a group of around 40 British passengers were poisoned on flight XLA 120 from London Gatwick, UK to Sanford International, Florida, US. Read more…
30th October 2020
Automatic reply from Baroness Vere to Aerotoxic Association – 20 business days. Expected by 27th November 2020.
3rd June 2019
Member of Parliament Fiona Bruce letter to pilot constituent concerning Government policy on Aerotoxic poisoning.
26th May 2019
Baroness Vere of Norbiton, Minister of Aviation replies to Fiona Bruce, Member of Parliament with UK Government policy on Aerotoxic Poisoning.
Film: A Dark Reflection
The film is based on actual events. A journalist digs deep into the world of aviation and discovers some uncomfortable truths and a conspiracy trail dating back to 1954. But why is no one saying anything? Funded entirely by airline crews globally wanting the story to be made public. Watch on Amazon.
Aerotoxic Syndrome on the Aircrew Remembered site.