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International Cabin Safety Symposium hosted by the Southern California Safety Institute Montréal, Québec, Canada 12 February 2008 Chris Witkowski Director, Air Safety, Health & Security Dept. Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO. Cabin Air Quality: Contamination and Research.

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International Cabin Safety Symposiumhosted by the Southern California Safety InstituteMontréal, Québec, Canada12 February 2008Chris WitkowskiDirector, Air Safety, Health & Security Dept.Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO

Cabin Air Quality:

Contamination and Research


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AIRCRAFT AIR SUPPLY CAN BE CONTAMINATED WITH TOXIC OILS/HYDRAULIC FLUIDS

  • Engine oil and hydraulic fluids can leak into the aircraft air supply system

    • Inadequate or improper maintenance

    • Poorly designed systems

    • Bad luck

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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WHAT ARE THE WARNING SIGNS? OILS/HYDRAULIC FLUIDS

  • May see mist or haze in cabin, or may not

  • May smell dirty socks (carboxylic acids in hot oil) or burning oil, or may not

  • Likely feel sick – nauseous/stomach cramping, confused, dizzy, disoriented, headache, weak muscles

  • Affects different people differently (genetics, physiological differences, past exposures, etc.)

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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HOW DO WE KNOW THAT CONTAMINATION HAPPENS? OILS/HYDRAULIC FLUIDS

  • Aircraft mechanical records confirm contamination in air supply systems

  • Airlines report some events to the FAA (U.S. Federal Aviation Administration)

  • Oils contain known neurotoxins and when heated, oils/HF give off carbon monoxide

    • Crews consistently report neurological and respiratory symptoms during/after events

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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The documentary OILS/HYDRAULIC FLUIDS

Welcome Aboard Toxic Airlines

93 minute feature length documentary.

Directed and Produced by Tristan Loraine

Fact Not Fiction Films Ltd 2007

www.welcomeaboardtoxicairlines.com

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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More proof of exposure: OILS/HYDRAULIC FLUIDSwipe samples

  • Pilots/flight attendants in US, Australia, Canada, and UK have collected “wipe samples” from the surfaces of the cabin/flight deck walls and sent samples to lab for analysis.

  • Almost all samples came back positive for TCPs, proving that oil aerosol enters cabin/flight deck. Expect results to be published in toxicology journal this year.

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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EXAMPLES OF EVENTS OILS/HYDRAULIC FLUIDS

  • Toxic Air Video - Pilot Description of Incident

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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DOES FAA REQUIRE AIRLINES TO REPORT EVENTS? OILS/HYDRAULIC FLUIDS

  • YES: FAA requires airlines to report events involving “smoke, vapor, or toxic or noxious fumes" in the cabin or flight deck to its Service Difficulty Reporting System (14 CFR 121.703(a)(5)); also applies to ground based events if flight safety is compromised, but FAA recently acknowledged “numerous air carriers/operators who may not have reported these events as required by regulation.” (FSAW 06-05A, Mar 2006)

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Bleed Air Explanation OILS/HYDRAULIC FLUIDS

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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HOW OFTEN DOES THIS HAPPEN? OILS/HYDRAULIC FLUIDS

  • AFA and IAM reviewed FAA Service Difficulty Reporting System, crew reports filed with member airlines, and news clips; found 476 events for an 18 month period (Jan 1, 2006 – June 30, 2007) = average of 0.9 events per day on US fleet withengine oil (some hydraulic fluid) in aircraft air supply

  • Guaranteed underestimate; about half of incident flights are diverted; costs $80-200K per diversion

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Events seen across fleet but more common on particular aircraft types

  • Found 476 reports on 47 aircraft types

  • Most common aircraft types identified in dataset are MD80, B737, B757, Embraer 145, and Canadair CL600

  • Other problem aircraft: BAe146, A320

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Objective means to prove exposure: blood test (“biomarker”)

  • Researcher has successfully identified a protein in the blood that gets modified in a predictable way after exposure

  • Benefits of Testing

    • supports a correct medical diagnosis

    • directly proves exposure (not just potential for exposure)

    • testing within several months after an event will still prove exposure

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Development of Biomarker (“biomarker”)

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Recent Air Samples from BAe 146 Flights Outside of North America

  • Two separate flights stealth-sampled by one pilot

    • Same aircraft tail number

    • Tricresylphosphate (TCP) found in the cabin air in both

  • 1st sampled flight

    • Pilot smelled odors

    • “Had a headache for 5 days”

    • Maintenance identified Auxiliary Power Unit leak

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Recent Air Samples from BAe 146 Flights Outside of North America

  • 2nd sampled flight

    • APU switched off

    • TCP still found in the cabin air but at 1/10 the concentration found on the 1st flight

    • No acute health effects reported by pilot

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Recent Air Samples from BAe 146 Flights Outside of North America

  • Many pilots feel compelled to be discreet about exposures

    • They are entrusted with passengers’ lives in operating the aircraft

    • But what happens if they sample for contaminants that could incapacitate them?

  • Standard practice in workplaces is to conduct independent sampling of breathing air for contaminants

    • But Not In The AIRCRAFT

    • What’s wrong with this picture?

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Jet Engine Oils America

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Oil Smell Detection Service America

  • Oil smell in cabin often requires taking engine off wing

  • Major airline: dismantling engine costs350,000 USD

  • Need to identify which engine has a problem

  • If wrong engine removed, money is wasted

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Oil Smell Detection Service America

  • Lufthansa estimates 20 oil smell events in a year for a fleet of 100 planes

    • Assume each plane flies every day an average of 3 segments

    • Then one oil event for each 5500 flights (20/365x3x100)

    • Actual number of segments in a year may well be less than 5500 (i.e., transoceanic flights, aircraft down for maintenance)

    • Still, 1 per 5500 means 5 incidents per day in US alone

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Cabin Air Quality Bleed Air AmericaResearch Project

  • OHRCA:Occupational Health Research Consortium in Aviation

  • ACER:Airliner Cabin Environment Research, FAA Center of Excellence

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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National Research Council Reports America

  • The Airliner Cabin Environment: Air Quality and Safety (NRC, 1986)

  • The Airliner Cabin Environment and the Health of Passengers and Crew (NRC, 2002)

    • Committee on Air Quality in Passenger Cabins of Commercial Aircraft

    • Recommended high priority cabin air quality research questions: ozone, cabin air pressure and oxygen partial pressure, outside air ventilation, air quality incidents, pesticide exposure, relative humidity.

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Sec. 815 Air Quality in Aircraft Cabins America

Vision 100 – Century of Aviation Reauthorization Act (United States Congress 2003)

  • conduct surveillance to monitor ozone in the cabin

  • collect pesticideexposure data to determine exposures of passengers and crew;

  • analyze samples of residue from aircraft ventilation ducts and filters after air quality incidents to identify the contaminants to which passengers and crew were exposed;

  • analyze and study cabin air pressure and altitude; and

  • establish an air quality incident reporting system.

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Overall Purpose of Project America

  • To plan a study of cabin crew that will examine air quality and health effects, and possible relationships between the two

    • Feasibility Study will test air sampler and data collection tools aboard aircraft as well as logistics of recruitment and distribution of data collection tools.

  • Funded by the FAA Office of Aerospace Medicine

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Medical Protocol America

  • AIM: To collect, review, and summarize available medical evidence provided by crewmembers that have reported exposure incident(s) to develop standardized medical evaluation protocols.

  • "Management of Exposure to Aircraft Bleed Air Contaminants Among Airline Workers: A Guide for Health Care Providers“ is posted in the results section on www.ohrca.org.

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Flight Attendant Health Survey America

  • Flight attendants from two airlines participated from June - December 2007.

  • Surveys were self reported:

    • Work history as flight attendant

    • Working conditions

    • Health history

      • Work related injuries/illnesses in past year

      • Symptoms in past week and past year

      • Conditions reported by a health care provider

      • Basic demographics and smoking habits

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Flight Attendant Health Survey America

  • Mailed to a random sample of active flight attendants and handed out over a period of days in selected major hubs of two airlines

  • 4,012 completed surveys, strong response rate

  • Preliminary report will be out in weeks

  • Full report will be out in a few months

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Cabin Air Sampling America

  • The VN Sampler

    • Lightweight

    • Easy to operate

    • EMF tested, approved for in-flight use

    • Collects particulates, semi-volatiles on filter

    • Looking particularly for engine oil components in bleed air

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Cabin Air Sampling America

  • Researchers and project staff are carrying and activating samplers on paid flights with FAA approval letter

    • Original plan for crew participation in sampling prevented by airlines

  • Crew is notified on the plane

  • No problems to date with TSA, passengers, or crew

  • 47 flight segments sampled to date in the first phase of sampling

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Cabin Air Sampling America

  • 20 additional flight segments are currently being collected with side-by-side sampling (duplicates) for analytical quality control

  • Analysis includes detection of TCP isomers (engine oil component)

  • Preliminary report will be out in weeks

  • Full report will be out in a few months

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Status of Feasibility Testing America

  • Able to obtain baseline health information from flight attendants –meaningful for linking health effects to exposure sampling in future research

    • Not able to link flight attendant health and exposure data in this study since flight attendants were not allowed to carry air samplers

  • Able to deploy samplers nationally and sample on aircraft with no flight disruption

  • Analysis demonstrates that VN sampler is capable of capturing contaminants of interest in the lab and in the cabin environment

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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Project outcomes America

  • A guide to health care providers to help diagnose and manage bleed air contamination exposure of airline workers

  • A report of baseline health information with a large flight attendant population

  • A report of TCP detection levels from samples collected in flight on commercial aircraft

  • A plan for a future study to better understand crew health and bleed air contamination exposures

AFA-CWA ASHSD


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FOR MORE INFORMATION, contact: America

Chris Witkowski, AFA

Phone: +1-202-434-0593

Email: cwitkowski@afanet.org

Website: http://ashsd.afacwa.org

For a copy of the Aviation Contaminated Air Reference

Manual (ISBN9780955567209) contact

Captain Susan Michaelis

susan@susanmichaelis.com

www.susanmichaelis.com

AFA-CWA ASHSD