Cabin air quality is a concern about which the FAA has been interested, but its most recent research seemed to suggest that more research may be needed; even Boeing seems open to explore the science of the air which bleeds off of engines. Dr. Clem Furlong and his team at the University of Washington Medical School are “developing a blood test to help flight crew and passengers know if they’ve been exposed to toxic air.” That appears to be a study in which the FAA should want to participate and its final version will likely be grabbed by OSHA.
The KOMO.com new report cogently captured all of the technical details:
“At his UW Medicine lab, Dr. Clem Furlong and his team are developing a blood test to show what’s really happening in the body after what’s called a ‘fume event’ on board a plane.
‘In the airplane, when the engine seals fail or leak, compressed air comes straight on board the aircraft unfiltered,’ Dr. Furlong said. ‘Three percent of that oil mist is neurotoxins and tricresyl phosphates. It’s a big concern.’
Dr. Furlong says each person reacts differently to toxic air. Some people will be unaffected, but others metabolize it quickly, with dangerous consequences.
‘You could end up with short term memory issues, with tremors, with headache, with loss of short term memory all sorts of other issues,’ he said.”
If and when a threat is defined, it will be interesting to see which agency defines the problem in regulatory terms and whether the FAA or OSHA will decide how to redesign the air ventilation system, if necessary.
Perhaps Will Shakespeare in Macbeth foresee the difficulty of this potential conflict:
Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air. (1.1.12-13)
i.e., Everything we delight in is evil to other beings and vice versa:
So let us hover through the fog and murky air.