Aviation Transportation Subcommittee 5-4-17
Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety and Security
National Consumers League
Airlines for America
This is in reference to today’s hearing on the State of Airline Travel. There were many issues discussed today, Several items on the legislative agenda will now be incorporated into the latest version of the FAA Reauthorization Bill and a revised version for the Passenger’s Bill of Rights. I know that the main media focus right now is on flight overbookings and passenger removals compensation. These are important issues to address which I agree. However, a far more important issue that affects the safety and health of Flight Attendants, Pilots and Passengers is the issue of Bleed Air Contamination in the aircraft cabin. This was only briefly touched upon by Sara Nelson AFA International President initially when she ran down the many issues. She then elaborated on just a few of the symptoms with this issue when it was brought to the floor by Senator Richard Blumenthal. This is the biggest and most dangerous health and safety problems facing all of us in air travel today. Ms. Nelson stated in the hearing that the symptoms included just to name a few memory loss, neurological damage and has fully disabled some Flight Attendants and Pilots. I would like to give your committees some more detailed background on why this issue should be prioritized over even flight overbookings and passenger removals. Bleed Air Contamination is the number one issue facing air travel today and really needs to be included in the next versions of the FAA Reauthorization Bill and the Passenger’s Bill of Rights. As well as being included in stand alone legislation in the form of a first ever comprehensive Cabin Air Quality Bill.
Asbestos of the Airline Industry:
This is an issue rarely spoken about that has been going on for over 6 decades to the point where we are today. The aviation establishment has successfully hidden this health danger from the American people since the early 1950’s. It was during 1963 that airlines and aircraft manufacturers quietly switched the air sources for aircraft. That year aircraft moved from a fresh air source from separate fuselage intake valves to contaminated bleed air that is now taken in from the aircraft engines, and is called, “bleed air.” The next huge danger began in 1978 during airline deregulation. During this year the crucial engine wet seals maintenance replacements were extended from 5,000 flight hours to where there are today at 30,000 or even more flight hours. Ever since this time the contamination of the breathing air has been at daily risk causing visible and invisible fume events. Originally, there was only 2% Fume Events when Bleed Air was first introduced in 1963. Yet, after 1978 once the engine wet seal maintenance was severely reduced, the industry now has these dangerous and toxic Fume Events every day somewhere in the airline system. These events now take place on nearly every aircraft which utilizes bleed air technology, needlessly endangering the health of thousands of passengers and crew by this blatant maintenance and construction negligence.
Anyone who dares to ever come forward and speak out on this issue has faced character assassination, ridicule and even termination from their airline careers. Countless injured crew and passengers suffer in silence while others have lost their careers by becoming permanently disabled or have died from being exposed to these neurotoxins. The few brave doctors and scientists who have risked their medical careers to go on the record refer to this health condition as Aerotoxic Syndrome which causes Organophosphate Poisoning of the Brain, Lung, and Heart tissues. This is also referred to as the new “Asbestos of the Airline Industry.” These Fume Event exposures create dangerous bodily reactions which include: violent regurgitations, severe migraines, inflamed nerve endings of the brain, disorientation, incapacitation, blurred vision, respiratory distress, permanent nervous systme damage, seizures, convulsions, heart spasms, short / long term memory loss and compromised cognitive brain functions. Cells and nerves become damaged, often permanently. The current cabin air technology of bleed air constantly leaks residual air contamination on every flight. These toxins and side effects are accumulative with the most severe effects being shown in Flight Attendants, Pilots, Frequent Flyers, the Elderly and Children. These accumualtive exposures to the heavy Fume Events and even the lower dose residual toxic levels are leading to chronic sickness in Flight Attendants, Pilots and Passengers which does not go away. Every new breath in a bleed air cabin is a new dose of contaminated air.
Those who develop the more severe stage of the chronic sickness and continue to fly have either became severly disabled or eventually died of sudden cardiac arrest as the toxins eventually move into their heart tissues, causing Myocarditis, where by the toxins cause inflammation of the heart muscle eventually resulting in death. The initial symptoms are chronic brain and lung issues such as Aerotoxic Syndrome of the brain, Nervous System damage and impairment as well as Reactive Airways Dysfunction of the lungs. The neurotoxins were found in the heart tissues during autopsies of deceased Aerotoxic Syndrome diagnosed pilots and cabin crew. (ref: Dr. Michel Mulder of the Netherlands.) Specific brain plasma protein enzymes were found at highly elevated levels as well. These enzymes showing traumatic brain injury, mental impairments, brain swelling and chronic severe migraines with blurred vision were only present when the crew or passenger had been exposed to these toxins. (ref: Dr Mohamed Abou-Donia of Duke University Medical Center.) The accompanying symptoms also included severe body tremors, seizures and an inability to stop shaking much like other neurological disorders of Parkinsons Syndrome or Dementia. Except these symptoms are brought on by inhaled and ingested neurotoxins from the contaminated bleed air from the leaking unmaintained engine wet seals from the aircraft cabin.
This is a highly important airline travel health and safety issue which affects us all: passengers, families, the elderly, babies, pregnant mothers-to-be and flight attendants, with pilots at severe risk of becoming incapacited inflight while losing control of the aircraft causing a total loss of all life onboard. It is of huge importance to cabin crew and frequent flyers in particular, as they are the largest high-risk group for this disorder. When you travel on an airplane and suddenly, for no reason become violently “air sick”, or after coming home from a flight you have severe migraines, disorientation, flu-like symptoms, and fatigue then you are most likely suffering from air contamination poisoning, The airlines try to tell you that this is just “Jet Lag.” This is just part of the convenient lie to explain the many health problems passengers incur in modern day jet travel which did not occur prior to bleed air contamination. The airline industry has been hiding this problem from passengers and cabin crew for over 60 years. Neurotoxins in the cabin air, such as i.e.: TCP Tricresyl Organophosphates and other so-called (VOCs) Volatile Organic Compunds which are both neurotoxic and cancerous. These chemicals when inhaled can lead to chronic illness, disable you mentally as well as physically and even cause death. Aerotoxic Syndrome: This condition was first diagnosed and named by the French medical scientist Dr. Jean-Christophe Balouet on October 20, 1999. This was done in collaboration with his fellow scientists, Dr. Harry Hoffman and Professor Chris Winder. There are presently over 250,000 cabin crew and passengers worldwide who are now diagnosed with this type of health condition.
Senator Dianne Feinstein of CA introduced an amendment in 2010 to research this issue. It has now been going on 7 years since that order has been passed. It is now time to move this legislation from the token research phase and into action with implementation to protect both passengers and crew. Passenger rights and flight attendant groups have begun to rally with petitions and writing campaigns for this movement. There have been multiple books and film documentaries on this issue. The time is now for a first ever Cabin Air Quality Bill in America. This would need to include: mandatory chemical sensors placed on all current bleed air aircraft, a government mandated return to the original safer 5,000 flight hours for engine wet seal replacement which was pre 1978 and a requirement for all future aircraft designs to return to the previous safer non bleed air technology which is currently in use with today’s new Boeing 787.
We can be the change in aviation’s future. Yet, we can not do it without your help and support. American’s deserve airline travel that is both safe and healthy which will not make them sick while onboard. Now is the time for the call to action. This Cabin Air Quality Bill is the right thing to do for America today. Please see the additional educational and informational links below that outline the struggle as well as history of this issue which brings us to where we are today. I once again implore you to please do the right thing for aviation today with the FAA Reauthorization Bill and the Passenger’s Bill of Rights. There are some serious issues which need to be included: Crew Rest for 10 hrs for safety of the aircraft, a civilized seat pitch of 31 inches which will prevent passengers from having heart attacks, blood clots and dying from DVT Deep Vein Thrombosis, and an end to flight over booking, new passenger removal laws protections and compensation, mandatory required interline agreements that protect passengers in denied boardings and cancel flights, empowerment and legislative protections for cabin crew to enforce safety. I totally agree all these are huge issues and completely necessary to be included. However, if the very air you breathe is not protected by legislation and it can cause you to become chronically sick, disabled or even die, then the rest of this just doesn’t really matter. If we can not breathe and we are too sick to fly then all the other issues are just secondary. Once again, thank you for your attention and I hope we will have your support.
Fume Event “Aviation’s Biggest Lie”