Health and safety regulators are being urged to do more to tackle toxic air in aircraft cabins with an aviation expert alleging crews and passengers are being placed at risk of contamination.
Former pilot Dr Susan Michaelis, of the University of Stirling, says the CAA does not have the expertise to address hazardous substances on aircrafts, and the HSE should be taking the lead to improve measures.
She said: “There is a clear gap between the CAA and the HSE when it comes to the application and enforcement of standards that should afford protections to both crew and the public in terms of the aircraft breathing air supply.”
Dr Michaelis has made the claims as part of her address at the International Aircraft Cabin Air Conference this week.
Research work by Dr Michaelis – recognised as a leading global aviation health and safety consultant and an experienced air accident investigator – finds that oil from aircraft engines can leak into a cabin’s air supply during flight.
She says regulators are falling short of their responsibilities to protect passengers and crews, adding: “In short, protections present under occupational health and safety regulations in Europe are not being applied to the issue of contaminated air in aircraft cabins.”
A CAA spokesman says the safety of passengers and crew is its priority.
The body says it relies on scientific guidance and Government research, finding: “Long term ill health due to any toxic effect from cabin air is understood to be unlikely, although such a link cannot be ruled out.”
Health risks ‘downplayed’
As part of Dr Michaelis’s address on toxic air in aviation she will also discuss the British Airways flight that had to be diverted after its crew became unwell from inhaling fumes during flight.
BA was criticised for its handling of the event, which unions allege was “downplayed” as an “odour event”.
The Airbus A380 had been travelling to London from San Francisco on October 25, 2016, when the pilot reported “toxic fumes” that were causing those on board to feel nauseous.
Reference: Evening Express
Date Published: October 6, 2017
Author: Jonathan Brown