A Breath of Fresh Air – ECA's View on Cabin Air Quality

Rudy Pont
2021 Zenodo  
Founded in 1991, the European Cockpit Association (ECA) represents around 40.000 European pilots through their national pilot associations in 33 EU member states. With regards to cabin air quality (CAQ), the association's position is clear: cabin air contamination is a known problem that can cause serious short- and long-term health effects which may compromise flight safety. Even when the aviation industry claims that there is no consensus about the health effects caused by the contaminated
more » ... in air, numerous cases, reports and academic papers urge the application of the precautionary principle. Because contaminated cabin air is a known hazard, ORO.GEN.200 requires air operators "to evaluate and manage associated risks, including taking actions to mitigate the risk and verify their effectiveness" (Regulation (EU) 965/2012). Unfortunately, this does not correspond to today's reality. After a reported fume event, technical investigations often remain inconclusive and primarily focus on restoring aircraft airworthiness. Crews are often left on their own . And in those cases when crews undergo a medical assessment, physicians (even certified aeromedical examiners) often lack specific expertise related to contaminated cabin air, which makes them revert to perform a very basic assessment (anamnesis, heart rate, blood pressure), which is seldom documented in a standardised manner. This leads to a situation where a known hazard remains unmitigated and crews continue to be exposed to contaminated cabin air without proper follow-up. ECA is of the opinion that in the long-term bleed free aircraft design is the single solution for this issue. Meanwhile, the association argues that firstly there is a need for a clear standardised medical protocol to ensure that crews undergo specific tests which are recorded and stored in a standardised manner. Ideally, this medical information should be correlated with the technical investigation, creating a (de-identified) body of evidence that can serve as a basis for f [...]
doi:10.5281/zenodo.5608756 fatcat:sxi6yh6rvfhh7nffjcfflclkt4