Professor David Coggon OBE, MA, PhD, DM, FRCP, FFOM, FFPH, F Med Sci
The Committee on Toxicity of Chemicals in Food, Consumer Products and the Environment
Food Standards Agency
London WC2B 6NH
27 February 2015
Contamination of the Breathing Air Supply – Passengers:children, infants and the foetus
Further to my recent Open Letters, as far back as 2012 it was established the Department for Transport policy was(1):
“When crew members, having been poisoned by contaminated breathing air in an acknowledged fume event, are immediately taken to hospital post flight, the passengers, having been similarly assaulted, should not be informed of the situation.” and in 2013(2) “that the CAA does not ensure the health and safety of the travelling public.”
In consequence it falls to the Committee on Toxicity to brief on this issue, having taken account of all pertinent scientific evidence,in order that the health and safety of crew and passengers can be taken into account.
Having listened to the presentations, such a shame that you could not attend, at the Global Cabin Air Quality Executive (GCAQE) in London I am more convinced that the COT has not taken into account all pertinent scientific information when reaching executive conclusions on this issue.
Additionally, it is hard to accept how pertinent peer reviewed scientific papers have been dismissed without far more explanation as to the justification for such action. A prime example being the paper of Dr Sarah Mackenzie Ross as evidenced by her response to you of 10 June 2014 (3).
As to my earlier statement:
“Turning now to passengers:children, infants and, especially, the foetus. In all my reading I cannot find them mentioned anywhere.
Sadly, it would appear that they have been completely overlooked as evidenced by the current accepted norm of taking crew, after an acknowledged fume event, to a medical facility and telling the passengers nothing whatsoever. That people are being assaulted in this manner, and denied the right to know, is a complete disgrace.”
It gets ever clearer that “complete disgrace” is putting it rather mildly and I am reminded of the comments made by Lord Empey and Lord Davies of Oldham:
“if long-term damage is done to pilots and other air crew as a result of this contamination, that is a matter where we as a Parliament have a duty of care to people in the community who work in that environment”
“I do not have the slightest doubt that if we are wrong, we would all feel dreadfully culpable because significant warning signals have been sent out, and that is why the issue has to be treated with the utmost seriousness.”
My previous Open Letters have mentioned the comments of Richard Feynman and am sure you will be aware of his work and participation in The Challenger enquiry.
However, I do believe the final word should now go to a President of the United States of America:
“You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.” (Abraham Lincoln)
- Open Letter to Rt Hon Justine Greening MP Secretary of State for Transport 25 March 2012
- Open Letter to Dr Nigel Dowdall Head of Aviation Health Unit CAA 20 May 2013
- Letter to Dr David Coggon from Dr Sarah Mackenzie Ross UCL 10 June 2014