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Cabin Crew Illness Sparks Fears of Air Quality
by Andrew Drew July 24th, 2009
A recent survey shows that high levels of illnesses among cabin crew since beginning work for airlines.
Out of 789 British airline staff surveyed one in seven took over a month’s sick leave last year and one in 23 had been diagnosed with cancer, although the average age of those surveyed was under 40. One in 20 was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and 20% of those surveyed were diagnosed with depression – the nation’s average is from 8 to 12%, according to the Mental Health Foundation.
A report, witnessed by the Telegraph, shows high prevalence of hypertension, cholesterol, pneumonia, miscarriages and bronchitis. It is said that the high levels of illness are the caused by exposure to toxic engine fumes that contaminate the air inside the cabin.
Scientists claim that toxins in the cabin are caused by the “bleed air” system on modern aircraft, where air is drawn from the compression section of the engine and cooled, and then re-enters the cabin and mixes with filtered air. The air filters on board do not remove vapours or fumes from the engine.
Former flight attendant, Sue Dale, conducted the research in partnership with the British Airline Stewards and Stewardesses Association, said that the results concluded in the need for a full investigation.
Dr Mackenzie Ross, a clinical neuropsychologist at University College London, claimed that contaminated air may affect up to 200,000 passengers each year. A Telegraph investigation last February revealed that hundreds of incidents of contaminated air had been reported by British pilots.
A CAA spokesman said investigations were underway but there was no link between cabin air and illness. Meanwhile, BA says that it would continue to work with authorities investigating the matter.
Thanks to theage.com.au for the above quotes.