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Air quality in aircraft cabins investigated


The quality of air in passenger jet cabins is currently being investigated by the Department for Transport. The study is being conducted by Cranfield University and the results are due to be made public in the near future. A DfT spokesman said the health and safety of passengers was one of its top priorities which is why the report into air quality was being compiled.

The spokesman added that incidents involving fumes entering the air supply on commercial aircraft were extremely rare and that the investigation would help to determine if any action needed to be taken.

Dr Susan Michaelis, a former pilot with a Qantas subsidiary, said she had become ill and had to quit her job after inhaling toxic fumes and becoming sick. She claims that contaminated air is causing passengers to become seriously ill and now holds a PhD on the topic. She added that if people were being exposed to toxic air for long periods of time then the airline industry urgently needs to deal with the issue.

A representative of the British Airline Pilots Association said the topic was controversial and that the majority of pilots are agreed that cabin air is safe. However, a handful claims that the presence of toxins in cabin air is a problem which is widespread.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority, there have been seven reported cases of toxic fume incidents since 2006. It has also recorded 270 incidents where oil leaks in the engines have been the cause of fumes entering the cabin.