A must-see documentary film on the subject of aircraft air supply contamination is Welcome Aboard Toxic Airlines, just released. You can watch the trailer online and AFA members can purchase the DVD at a special discounted rate of $24 (including shipping). Go to www.welcomeaboardtoxicairlines.com or www.dftenterprises.com and enter coupon code AFA2024341300 at checkout.
The air you breathe in the aircraft cabin is supplied from the engines or APU and sometimes it gets contaminated with engine oils or hydraulic fluids that get heated to very high temperatures, often appearing as a smelly haze or smoke. That haze/smoke that enters the cabin air is a toxic soup and can contain carbon monoxide gas as well as chemicals that can damage your nervous system called tricresylphosphates (TCPs). Exposure to TCPs can initially cause stomach ache and muscle weakness, followed by delayed memory loss, tremors, confusion, and many other symptoms. For more information on the dangers of exposure, visit our air quality page. For information to give to your doctor, visit the OHRCA website and download the guide for medical providers. Also, it is important for you to know that University of Washington Professor Clem Furlong is in the final stages of developing a blood test that will enable crew and passengers to determine if they were exposed to TCPs on the aircraft. If you think you have been exposed, it is important to get your blood sent to his lab as soon as possible because that information will assist your doctor if you need medical help post-exposure and will benefit your workers' compensation case. For more information, email judith@AFAseattle.org. Prof. Furlong's research is being funded by crewmember unions, including AFA-CWA, and King 5 News in Seattle recently ran an exclusive story. Also, in April 2008, the BBC highlighted the dangers of breathing contaminated aircraft air on its news program, "Panorama."