Coroner declares first case of aerotoxic syndrome
An update to a prior story “Flying on fumes : Are aircraft leaks poisoning cabin crew?“.
The Daily Telegraph is reporting that Dorset Coroner declared “aerotoxic syndrome” as the cause of death for pilot Richard Westgate. From the article:
Toxic fumes in cabin air pose a health risk to frequent fliers and aircrew, a coroner has said in a landmark report.
Stanhope Payne, the senior coroner for Dorset, said people regularly exposed to fumes circulating in planes faced “consequential damage to their health”.
Mr Payne, who is inquiring into the death of Richard Westgate, a British Airways pilot, called on BA and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to take “urgent action to prevent future deaths”. Most airline passengers, who fly only occasionally, will not be affected by the problem, but some frequent travellers who are genetically susceptible to the toxins could fall ill.
Mr Payne’s call for urgent action is likely to be welcomed by campaigners who have raised similar concerns for a number of years.
His report, obtained by the Telegraph, is the first official UK recognition of so-called “aerotoxic syndrome”, a phenomenon long denied by airlines but which is blamed by some for the deaths of at least two pilots and numerous other incidents where pilots have passed out in flight. Co-pilots can normally take over, but campaigners claim the syndrome is a suspected cause of some mid-air disasters.
At issue is the source of where the airplanes sources their compressed air to pressurize the cabin- the engines themselves which if it malfunctions, is a potential source for contamination from oil particles.