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Airline Air: Recirculating Jet Air Linked to Illness

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Aerotoxic syndrome is the medical term for the illness caused by exposure to contaminated air in jet aircraft, and it’s causing that ailment, plus the permanent disability and even death of airline employees and passengers. Whistleblowers have been met with ridicule and termination. The problem has been called the “asbestos of the airline industry” by critics. French scientist Jean-Cristophe Balouet, Ph.D., who discovered the syndrome in 1999, thinks it may have already affected 250,000 pilots, cabin crew and passengers worldwide.

In 1963, aircraft moved from drawing fresh air into the cabin to “bleeding” part of it from the engines. The synthetic oil used by jets contains organophosphates used in pesticides and nerve gas, and was banned by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for residential use in 2001 because of known toxicity. The byproducts of these carcinogenic organophosphates can also include aldehydes and carbon monoxide.

Airplane seals wear out and there are no chemical sensors onboard aircraft to detect fumes—only noses to detect the “dirty sock” odor. The Aerotoxic Association continues to push for air quality detectors on all planes and the Cabin Air Quality Act sponsored by California Senator Dianne Feinstein.


For more information, visit Aerotoxic.org.


This article appears in the January 2017 issue of Natural Awakenings.

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