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Bleed air can get contaminated from engine oils and fluids when seals leak or when maintenance crews overfill fluid reservoirs. One contaminant that has raised concerns among airline unions and some scientists is tricresyl phosphate, an antiwear additive found in the engine oil of commercial jet liners that has been linked to neurological damage when ingested.
Organophosphate (OP) compounds are a diverse group of chemicals used in both domestic and industrial settings. Examples of organophosphates include: insecticides (malathion, parathion, diazinon, fenthion, dichlorvos, chlorpyrifos, ethion), nerve gases (soman, sarin, tabun, VX), ophthalmic agents (echothiophate, isoflurophate), and antihelmintics (trichlorfon). Herbicides (tribufos [DEF], merphos) are tricresyl phosphate–containing industrial chemicals.
Abstract: A survey of cockpit air contamination by organophosphates and amines in the Hawk, F-111 and Hercules C-130 aircraft was undertaken. The air contamination occurred via the engine bleed air supply. The source of tricresyl phosphates, pheny-alpha-naphthylamine and diotyldiphenylamine was jet engine oil while hydraulic fluids are suspected of contributing to the presence of trialkyl phosphates. The concentrations of all contaminants measured were generally very low. Tricresyl phosphate concentrations were below 4 mug/m3 with two exceptions
Atmospheric tricresyl phosphate (TCP) isomers in Kurose river basin were determined. The concentrations of o-TCP and m-TCP were 0.13 and 0.09 ng/m3, respectively, while p-TCP was scarcely detected.