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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.
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.
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.
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.