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Contaminated cabin air contributed to crew members deaths

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posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 10:06 AM
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Senior First Officer Richard Westgate began flying in 1996, and went to work for British Airways in 2007. In 2011, he was grounded on full pay due to health related issues, that began a few years prior. In December of 2012, despite being seen by 15 consultants, he passed away.

Now a group of medical examiners have determined that sustained exposure to organophosphates from contaminated cabin air may have played a role in his death. He suffered from headaches, memory loss, and numbness of limbs.

The same group of coroners is also looking into the death of a steward who has tissue samples identical to the pilots, both of which appear to show organophosphate induced neurotoxicity.


Sustained exposure to organophosphates (OP) from contaminated cabin air contributed to the death of a 43-year-old ­British Airways pilot, a group of medical experts believe.

The findings are likely to increase pressure on the industry to take the issue of sustained crew exposure to ­engine bleed air more seriously. Airlines and governments have previously dismissed suggestions that bleed air can be a factor behind flightcrew falling ill.

The pilot, senior first officer Richard Westgate, started flying professionally in 1996 and worked for various airlines before joining BA in 2007. He died in December 2012 after years of increasingly serious symptoms of sickness that went undiagnosed in the UK, despite reference to 15 different medical consultants.

The symptoms included headaches, loss of memory and numbness in his limbs. He was grounded on full pay in September 2011, and consultation with a neurologist in Amsterdam followed. As a result, extensive medical details of his symptoms before death are on record.

www.flightglobal.com...




posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 10:09 AM
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a reply to: Zaphod58


Organophosphates?But how?



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 10:14 AM
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a reply to: Sunwolf

The pressurization system feeds through the aircraft engines. Occasionally there is a leak in the system that allows unburned oil, and other fluids to get into the system that get into the cabin air and get circulated through the aircraft. Usually there is an odor associated with it, but a lot of people just pass it off as recirculated air.



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 10:14 AM
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In the engine oil?Man ,oh,man,is that ever genious,adding one of the deadliliest pesticides known.



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 10:15 AM
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a reply to: Sunwolf

It's not supposed to be able to get into the cabin air, but occasionally there's a bleed air leak that allows it.



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 10:21 AM
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Organophosphates are widely used as solvents, plasticizers, and EP additives.

Diisodecyl phthalate (DIDP), used for insulation of wires and cables, car undercoating, shoes, carpets, pool liners

Diisooctyl phthalate (DIOP), all-purpose plasticizer for polyvinyl chloride, polyvinyl acetate, rubbers, cellulose plastics, and polyurethane.


Extreme pressure additives, or EP additives, are additives for lubricants with a role to decrease wear of the parts of the gears exposed to very high pressures. They are also added to cutting fluids for machining of metals.

EP additives are usually used in applications such as gearboxes, while AW additives(antiwear) are used with lighter load applications such as hydraulic and automotive engines.


Traces are probably found in many things.



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 10:45 AM
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I believe it due to my flight back from London a couple of months ago. British Airways direct from London to Austin route, Dreamliner. Strangest flight of my life and I've traveled a lot. My seat was in economy plus and was getting settled in for the flight when a whistling hiss let us know that the air was turned on. After about 5 minutes the whole cabin smelled like diesel exhaust fumes and I felt as if I was suffocating, like they weren't pumping in oxygen into the cabin.

I called the steward over and asked about it and she said she would let the pilot know as other people were complaining about it too. She came back a minute later and said the pilot said not to worry, that it should stop in a minute or two. It did stop soon after and we started to taxi the runway.

Then came the weirdest, scariest introduction over the intercom that I have ever ever heard on a plane. First a giggle from the deep voiced Brit pilot then this (not verbatim but close to it, it has been a couple of months);

"Thank you for flying British Airways, my name is __________ and I will be your pilot today. I have grave concerns about this flight as we are being routed north of our standard route to avoid a large storm. I am concerned, genuinely concerned but I feel that with the aid of my two co-pilots (gives the names of the co-pilots, or maybe it was one co-pilot and also the head of the cabin crew?) that we might have a chance and with God's grace we will arrive in the backwater airport of Austin eventually. ETA is roughly, giggle, an extra hour or so to our flight time. Thank you, enjoy your flight . . . "

At that point me and many others wanted off but we were already away from the gate . . . . trapped . . .

The stewards brought out the drinks cart before we had even reached altitude and unlimited free sparkling wine was offered to everyone . . . . I guess to calm us down, they looked a little worried too . . .

Later updates from the pilot were normal except for some more potshots at Austin's airport facilities,

So there ya go, perhaps the fumes got to him for awhile,

STM

ETA: He also said that prayers from the passengers would be greatly appreciated.
edit on 31-7-2014 by seentoomuch because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 11:01 AM
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The airlines must be in panic mode right now.

The bursting dam of lawsuits that will roll in will bankrupt the industry.

Even now I'll bet that lobbyists are flooding into DC. Lavishing politicians with junkets full with call girls, booze and blow.

I feel a great disturbance in the Airline Industry.



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 11:04 AM
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a reply to: grey580

The complaints from flight crews have been coming in for years, but the airlines repeatedly said that either no problem had been found on the aircraft (which I can understand, because bleed air leaks can be a BITCH to track down), and studies would be done. But nothing serious has ever been done.

They need a bite in the ass every once in awhile.



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 11:04 AM
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a reply to: grey580

No worry for airlines. if this gets bad the government will bail them out.



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 04:40 PM
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An airline I worked for in the laet 80's early 90's operated BAe-146's that had this as a systemic problem - it was traced to a seal in the APU on the back side of the compressor - as Zaph says, this wore in service and eventually leaked oil into the aircon system. We were doing a "hot cycle" aircon run at least once a week to clear oil out of the ducts.

The fix was to upgrade the APU to a new model that had a different design of seal in that position that wasn't prone to wearing and leaking in this manner.

See the wiki article on aerotoxic syndrome for some good background info.



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 06:28 PM
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originally posted by: seentoomuch
I believe it due to my flight back from London a couple of months ago. British Airways direct from London to Austin route, Dreamliner. Strangest flight of my life and I've traveled a lot. My seat was in economy plus and was getting settled in for the flight when a whistling hiss let us know that the air was turned on. After about 5 minutes the whole cabin smelled like diesel exhaust fumes and I felt as if I was suffocating, like they weren't pumping in oxygen into the cabin.


If you were flying on a 787 Dreamliner then you were not exposed to oil exhaust. The 787 has a different system that does not take bleed air from the engine for aircon/pressurization.

On another note, I suspect that these physiological effects are from compounds that have multiple sources including cabin plastics, disinsection residual spray, skydrol hydraulic fluid as well as the usual suspects of Mobil MJII and BP 2197 etc turbine oils.

LEE.



posted on Jul, 31 2014 @ 06:40 PM
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a reply to: thebozeian

If it was a 787 it's that New Airplane Smell. Pretty soon they'll be marketing cans of the stuff.




posted on Aug, 1 2014 @ 09:23 AM
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I love the new airplane smell too. That was not the case in this instance.

Imho, ALL aircraft should have an air quality monitor on board due to all the illnesses associated with fume events in the cabin and cockpit. 787s included.

I saw that 787s have electrical compressors for the air supply, perhaps they had just lubed it and the pilot knew the oil would burn off in a few minutes? 787s promise fresh air but they do not have air quality monitors on their plane, so who knows what the quality really is?

Source: www.airbestpractices.com...


Carbon monoxide can also be produced by overheated conditions in the air compressor itself. OSHA requires high temperature alarms on lubricated air compressors because overheated conditions can produce carbon monoxide by the partial oxidation of oil and oil vapors.


Idk, I'm reaching for straws here as I'm not expert on airplanes and their systems I only know what I experienced along with the other passengers and cabin crew. And if what I experienced was the 787's version of new plane smell, no thanks.

As I looked up this info I came across comments from pilots and cabin crew describing the sick atmospheres on aircraft and their related illnesses. Pilots on some aircraft report having to resort to oxygen masks 5 times a week.



Thanks for posting this topic, it has opened my eyes on how prevalent this is and it shows the need for improvement in aircraft design in regards to systems as well as the plastics and materials used.

STM



posted on Aug, 1 2014 @ 10:32 AM
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a reply to: seentoomuch

It's one of those problems where if you look at it on an airline by airline basis, it's not a major deal. But when you start to look at it on an industry wide basis, it's a totally different thing.



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