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Why Flying Should Come With A Health Warning

Why Flying Should Come With A Health Warning 88

This article posted here with permission, from Greenmedinfo.com. For more news from them, you can sign up for their newsletter here

Did you know that the air you breathe on a commercial airliner comes directly from the engine, complete with engine oil, lubricants and hydraulic fluid? A new study confirms the link between contaminated cabin air and aerotoxic syndrome. Learn what you can do to protect yourself and your family.

If you don’t feel well after air travel, it might be more than simple jet lag. From the parking garage to the baggage carousel, your body undergoes a fusillade of toxic assaults. You may eat toxic food, drink toxic water, and touch contaminated surfaces—and then your body is bombarded by body scanners, Wi-Fi and cosmic radiation.

On top of all that, the air in the airplane is toxic.

For six decades, the airline industry has turned a blind eye to the adverse health effects of contaminated cabin air. Since warm air is needed for both engine propulsion and human respiration, aircraft manufacturers decided decades ago to combine the two by bringing air through the engine to heat it, then bleeding it directly into the cabin—unfiltered. This air brings with it a toxic mix of engine oil, lubricants, and various hydrocarbons. As noted by US Attorney Alisa Brodkowitz, the only air filters are the lungs of passengers and crew.

Modern aircraft have no chemical sensors—save for the noses of the humans onboard. Background levels of contamination are sometimes but not always detectable by smell, and not all incidents are recorded in flight logs or reported to aviation authorities.

Engine oils leak into the air supply, by design. Their chemical signature is regularly found in aircraft cabins and cockpits. Repeated exposures have created a new occupational disease called “Aerotoxic Syndrome” suffered by pilots, flight attendants and other crew—and unfortunately, some passengers as well. Extensive evidence confirms that frequent exposures are occurring, and health and flight safety are being compromised.

The role bleed air plays in the reported illnesses has been the subject of much debate, but a study recently published by the World Health Organization (WHO) provides solid evidence that contaminated cabin air is making people sick. The study took an in-depth look at the effects of “contaminated air events” (aka fume events) on the health of aircrew to determine whether reported symptoms are consistent with exposure to pyrolysed (decomposed due to heating) jet engine oil and other fluids, or if the symptoms could be attributed to other factors. Researchers concluded the following:[i]

A clear cause and effect relationship has been identified linking the symptoms, diagnoses and findings to the occupational environment. Recognition of this new occupational disorder and a clear medical investigation protocol are urgently needed.

A Flying “Gas Chamber”

Exposure to extreme temperatures produces a wide range of toxic compounds. Jet exhaust, and therefore cabin air, are tainted with petrochemicals, carbon monoxide, ozone, benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde, deicing agents, hydraulic fluid—and even fecal matter and pesticides.[ii][iii] [iv] In terms of Aerotoxic Syndrome, the most significant players appear to be the organophosphates, which will be my focus in this article.

All aircraft engines leak oil. Jet engines require synthetic oils for lubrication, and these oils contain chemicals such as tricresyl phosphate (TCP), which contains several compounds, one of which is tri-ortho-cresyl phosphate (TOCP). TCP is an organophosphate with known neurotoxic effects in the same category as sarin gas. TCP and other noxious agents are sometimes odorless—so you may not know you’re inhaling them, which makes them all the more dangerous.[v] According to the WHO study:

Transient, low-level oil leakage over the engine oil seals into the aircraft air supply occurs during normal flight operations, with less frequent, higher level leakage under certain operational conditions (e.g. seal wear or seal failure). The use of pressurized air from the engine compressor to both seal the oil-bearing chamber and supply cabin bleed air provides a mechanism for low-level oil leakage in routine engine operations.

While many experts have suggested that oil leakage is associated only with rare failure events, others now recognize that chronic exposure is caused by the so-called tiny amounts of oil vapors released by oil leaking continuously over the seals during engine power changes.

Most medical practitioners are unaware of Aerotoxic Syndrome. Sufferers are misdiagnosed with a variety of other illnesses that miss the root of the problem and result in inappropriate treatments. The prime suspect for Aerotoxic Syndrome is TCP, which is found in 25 to 100 percent of in-flight air samples.[vi]TBP (tributyl phosphates) are found in 73 percent of flights, and triphenyl phosphate metabolites have been found in 100 percent of urine samples.

It is believed the primary effects of TCP come from its disruptions of acetylcholine metabolism. Acetylcholine is a natural neurotransmitter found in your central and peripheral nervous system. Neurotransmitters normally have a short half-life because they are rapidly degraded by enzymes, preventing their build-up. When organophosphates in bleed air impede the enzyme acetylcholinesterase, the resulting increase in acetylcholine overstimulates acetylcholine receptors, giving rise to central and peripheral nervous system symptoms.

High TCP exposure is known to cause neuropathy, paralysis, and damage to myelin sheaths, similar to what happens with multiple sclerosis. Symptoms can present immediately or be delayed by a couple of weeks, with varying severity. Symptoms can be triggered by higher-dose episodes (fume events), as well as low level exposures associated with routine air travel. Even the smallest dose can produce symptoms in susceptible individuals, depending on factors such as previous exposure history, genetics, age, overall health and ability to detox. Chronic effects are common.

The relationship between toxic inhalants and reported symptoms has been difficult to establish for a number of reasons. Another problem is that toxicants cause a wide range of symptoms that are not always easy to connect to exposure, made even more challenging if the effects are delayed.

Aerotoxic Syndrome symptoms can mimic other conditions such as multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), mold toxicity, chronic infections, drug reactions, “sick building syndrome,” chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis (MS)—making identification a challenge. Many aerotoxicity victims describe feeling like “zombies” or perpetually intoxicated.

Medical investigation of Aerotoxic Syndrome should focus on organophosphate poisoning, as many of its symptoms are typical of poison-induced neurological injuries. Aerotoxic Team provides a list of jet fluid compounds that have been detected in crews’ body fluids, and these specific compounds should be included in any lab analysis for toxic exposures, along with the more common toxins (pesticides, heavy metals, etc.). There is also a specialized hair analysis kit that checks for organ contamination from jet-oil TCP and five compounds, also available through the Aerotoxic Team website.[vii] The test must be performed within three to four months of exposure.

The ten most common acute and chronic health effects noted in the WHO study are listed below.

1.    Breathing problems

2.    Impaired cognition, memory and performance

3.    Headaches

4.    Vision problems

5.    Nausea

6.    Fatigue

7.    Nerve problems

8.    Dizziness

9.    Cardiovascular

10. Cold/flu like feelings

An Epidemic of Underreporting

All current transport aircraft use the bleed air system to provide cabin ventilation, except for the newest airliner, the Boeing 787. Boeing’s “Dreamliner” incorporates bleedless technology using fresh air drawn in through inlets at the wing roots. You might think this would be a great selling point for Boeing’s new jet—but they do not feature the airliner’s “clean air design” in its marketing copy. Why?

Bringing attention to this feature would shine the spotlight squarely on the widespread air quality problems characterizing all of its OTHER aircraft. There are about 19,000 airliners currently in operation, and just over 280 are 787’s. Based on that statistic, we can conclude that only about 1.5 percent of transport aircraft are safe to fly.

The fact that Boeing redesigned the 787’s ventilation represents a tacit acknowledgment of the industry-wide problem of contaminated air and is one step toward a permanent solution. However, the vast majority of aircraft are still in the technological dark ages, with public awareness of health risks only starting to emerge.

Jet engine chemicals are routinely found in the blood of pilots.[viii] As I’m sure you would agree, compromising the neurological fitness of pilots should be taken as seriously as a mechanical defect in the plane—after all, pilots are essential to keeping our planes safely in the air. It is inexcusable for the industry to continue ignoring this problem.

It will be consumers and non-governmental advocacy organizations, such as those listed at the end of this article, that will force the industry and its regulators to make this issue a priority. If just one airline in this country took measures toward addressing the problem, it would see huge support by an increasingly educated consumer base—and that’s you and those with whom you share this article! Short of redesigning existing aircraft, the Aerotoxic Association proposes the following solutions:[ix]

  • As bleed air is not presently filtered, installation of bleed air filtration systems would eliminate the problem, although a technically efficient system has not yet been developed.
  • The French oil company NYCO has developed a less toxic formulation, which has recently been introduced to the EasyJet aircraft fleet—a step in the right direction.
  • Chemical sensors to detect contaminated air in the bleed air supply would alert pilots to a problem allowing for prompt intervention, as confirmed by a 2017 study.[x]

Until the airlines implement some greatly-overdue changes, there are a few things you can do to protect yourself from exposure to toxic inhalants when you fly. At the top of the list is wearing an appropriate mask.

Travel Masks Can Be a Lifesaver for Your Family

There are many kinds of masks on the market that can protect you from air pollution. The Aerotoxic Association has a page about masks specifically geared for airline travel, with the following guidelines:[xi]

If you are looking for a small, foldable mask with good protection you should always check out the technology they use. It should also indicate for which particulates, VOC’s, type of fumes, smoke, gas etc. the specific mask is good for, and that it has an “activated carbon” filter within.

They recommend Cambridge Mask Co., which offers masks with the correct filtration technology in five different sizes, from infants on up. Cambridge masks are soft and foldable and meet the NIOSH N99 standard for filtration, which means filtration of 99 percent of particulates, 99.6 percent of viruses and 99.8 percent of airborne bacteria—so you will also receive some protection from those uninvited pathogens that can hitch a ride home in your respiratory tract.

Cambridge Mask Co. is affiliated with the Aerotoxic Team, so when you purchase from them you are also supporting the important work this organization is doing for the cause. To order, please visit the mask page on the Aerotoxic Team website—and make sure to add the code AEROMASK at checkout to receive a 10 percent discount.[xii] Many people report that these masks run small, so keep that in mind when you order.

It’s worth noting that aircraft drop-down oxygen masks are used only for cabin decompression—pilots do not drop them in the event of smoke or fumes in the cabin. These deliver 50 percent oxygen and 50 percent cabin air so they are of little use during a fume event.

Other Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Loved Ones When Flying

In addition to wearing a mask, keep in mind the following:

1.    Stay well hydrated before and during a flight by drinking plenty of pure water (filtered water from home or bottled water, not airline water).

2.    Avoid departing in an exhausted or stressed state as that may compromise your immune system.

3.    Adjust overhead air vents so the flow is directed away from you; if you suspect a fume event, turn the vent off immediately.

4.    Many people coughing on a flight may indicate an air contamination problem.

5.    Report unusual smells or visible smoke to the flight crew and ask them to alert the captain. The smell of these fumes has been described as wet dog-like, dirty socks, burning oil or electrical. You can file a fume event report online or using this QR code, if you have a smart phone.

Why Flying Should Come With A Health Warning 89

Additional Resources

For more information about this issue, the following resources and organizations may be helpful.

·         Global Aerotoxic Team[xiii]

·         Information for passengers[xiv]

·         Toxic Free Airlines: protocols, fume reporting guidelines and forms, informational handouts and more[xv]

·         Facebook pages: Flightoxic International,[xvi] Global Aerotoxic Team,[xvii] Toxic Free Airlines,[xviii] Aerotoxic Association[xix]

·         Exposure to Aircraft Bleed Air Contaminants Among Airline Workers: A Guide for Healthcare Providers[xx]

·         Documentary by 60 Minutes Australia (free)[xxi]

·         Documentary: “Angel Without Wings”[xxii]

·         Documentary: “Unfiltered Breathed In: The Truth About Aerotoxic Syndrome”[xxiii]

Air travel has many associated risks, and contaminated air is probably the least well known. You can protect yourself by exercising a few basic precautions, such as wearing a mask. Raise awareness about this important issue! Share this article with your friends and family, and educate other passengers as the opportunities arise. Write to airline and aviation regulators insisting that toxic air detectors be fitted to all passenger jets, and encourage others to do the same.

I would like to express my gratitude to the Aerotoxic Team for their contributions to this article, and for spearheading the movement toward toxic-free air on all aircraft, on behalf of passengers and crew worldwide.


References

[i] S Michaelis, J. Burdon, and V. Howard, “Aerotoxic Syndrome: A New Occupational Disease?” Public Health Panorama June 2017; 3(2): 141-356, http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/341533/5_OriginalResearch_AerotoxicSyndrom_ENG.pdf, accessed July 14, 2017.

[ii] C Winder and JC Balouet, “Aerotoxic Syndrome: Adverse Health Effects Following Exposure to Jet Oil Mist During Commercial Flights,” Aerotoxic Association, June 10, 2014, http://aerotoxic.org/information/reports-and-evidence/aerotoxic-sydrome-adverse-health-effects-following-exposure-jet-oil-mist-commercial-flights/, accessed July 14, 2017.

[iii] SC Herndon et al., “Hydrocarbon emissions from in-use commercial aircraft during airport operations,” Environmental Science and Technology 2006; 40(14):4406-4413, http://www.ce.cmu.edu/~gdrg/readings/2006/07/18/HerdonAirportEmissions.pdf, DOI10.1021/es051209l, accessed July 20, 2017.

[iv] “3. Health Effects of JP-5, JP-8, and Jet Fuels,” Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (CDC), pages 23-143; https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp121-c3.pdf, accessed July 21, 2017.

[v] “Triorthocresyl Phosphate,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, April 11, 2016, https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npg/npgd0642.html, accessed July 14, 2017.

[vi] S Michaelis, “Implementation of the Requirements for the Provision of Clean Air in Crew and Passenger Compartments Using the Aircraft Bleed Air System.” Cranfield University Master’s Thesis, June 2015, http://www.susanmichaelis.com/pdf/2016_Susan%20Michaelis_MSc%20Cranfield-Clean%20air%20requirements%20using%20bleed%20air%20system.pdf, accessed July 14, 2017.

[vii] Hair Test Kit, http://www.aerotoxicteam.com/laboratory.html, accessed July 20, 2017.

[viii] “German scientists find dangerous gas in plane cabins,” The Local, February 16, 2016, https://www.thelocal.de/20160216/german-scientists-find-dangerous-gas-in-plane-cabins, accessed July 14, 2017.

[ix] “What is Aerotoxic Syndrome?” Aerotoxic Association, http://aerotoxic.org/about-aerotoxic-syndrome/, accessed July 14, 2017.

[x] BW Jones et al., “The nature of particulates in aircraft bleed air resulting from oil contamination,” 2017 ASHRAE Winter Conference Papers, LV-17-C046, http://www.aerotoxicteam.com/uploads/6/0/3/8/6038702/jones_et_al_nature_of_particulates_in_oil_contaminated_bleed_2017.pdf, accessed July 21, 2017.

[xi] “Protect yourself,” Aerotoxic Association, http://aerotoxic.org/protect-yourself-2/, accessed July 14, 2017.

[xii] “Protection on Board from Contaminated Cabin Air,” Global Aerotoxic Team, http://www.aerotoxicteam.com/protect-yourself-with-masks.html, accessed July 20, 2017.

[xiii] Global Aerotoxic Team official website http://www.aerotoxicteam.com.

[xiv] “Information for Passengers,” Global Aerotoxic Team, http://www.aerotoxicteam.com/passenger-info.html.

[xv] “Files for download,” Toxic Free Airlines, http://toxicfreeairlines.com/index.php/files.

[xvi] Flightoxic International Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/flightoxicinternational/.

[xvii] Global Aerotoxic Team, https://www.facebook.com/aerotoxicsyndrome/.

[xviii] Toxic Free Airlines, https://www.facebook.com/ToxicFreeAirlines/?hc_ref=SEARCH.

[xix] Aerotoxic Association, https://www.facebook.com/AerotoxicAssociation/.

[xx] R Harrison et al., “Exposure to Aircraft Bleed Air Contaminants Among Airline Workers,” Toxic Free Airlines, http://www.toxicfreeairlines.com/images/stories/medicalprotocolforhcp2008.pdf, accessed July 14, 2017.

[xxi] Australia13i8ia, “Toxic Flyer,” YouTube, December 09, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cvdmK0toSCo, accessed July 14, 2017.

[xxii] Vimeo, “Angel Without Wings,” December 21, 2014, https://vimeo.com/ondemand/angelwithoutwings, accessed July 20, 2017.

[xxiii] Vimeo, “Unfiltered Breathed In: The Truth About Aerotoxic Syndrome,” November 22, 2016, https://vimeo.com/ondemand/unfilteredbreathedin?utm_source=email&utm_medium=vod-rentalexpire-201602&utm_campaign=29548, accessed July 14, 2017.

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Science & Technology

New Physics: Mysterious radiation pointed to the verge of discovering a “ghost” particle that makes up dark matter

New Physics: Mysterious radiation pointed to the verge of discovering a "ghost" particle that makes up dark matter 90
Photo: Daniel Molybdenum, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Physicists at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the United States have found that the mysterious high-energy radiation emitted from the vicinity of a group of neutron stars may indicate the existence of axions – not yet discovered particles within the framework of New Physics, the search for which has been going on since 1977. It is assumed that special types of axions form dark matter. This is reported in an article published in the journal Physical Review Letters. The research is summarized in a press release on Phys.org.

It is believed that axions can form in the core of neutron stars and transform into photons in the presence of a powerful magnetic field. To detect the electromagnetic radiation associated with axions, you need to find stars that do not emit radiation at different wavelengths that can mask the desired signal. 

These objects include the Magnificent Seven neutron stars that emit only X-ray and ultraviolet radiation. They are located at a distance of 200-500 parsecs from the Earth.

The researchers ruled out the scenario that the excess X-rays produced by the Magnificent Seven are actually emitted by other, more distant objects. These sources would be found in datasets from the XMM-Newton and Chandra X-ray space telescopes.

The extra X-rays likely originate from axions hitting an extremely strong electromagnetic field billions of times stronger than the magnetic fields that could be created on Earth, the scientists concluded. The axions themselves resemble neutrinos in their properties, since both have insignificant masses and rarely and weakly interact with matter.

The axion is currently viewed as the most promising candidate for dark matter particles, since another hypothetical candidate, the massive WIMP particle, has gone unnoticed in experiments aimed at detecting it. 

In addition, there may be a whole family of axion-like particles that form dark matter, as suggested by string theory. If axions are found, it will prove that there is a whole new area of ​​physics outside the Standard Model describing the properties of all known particles.

To find out, the next step will be to study white dwarfs, which are not expected to emit X-rays.

“If we see an abundance of X-rays there too, our arguments will be pretty compelling,” said lead author Benjamin Safdie.

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The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear?

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 91

Various sources often talk about civilizations that lived long before us. They all developed, prospered for a while, and then disappeared in an incomprehensible way. 

What is the reason for their decline, we probably will not know. All we can do is admire the remains of stone buildings, over which time has almost no power.

While looking for an answer, we somehow accidentally stumbled upon an interesting saying about the life of Japanese samurai: “A samurai has no goal, but a path.” In the end, the “path of the samurai” ended in what is known – death. The path of any civilization ended in the same way.

If you look at the issue through the prism of a samurai saying, then there is no point in looking for why and how civilization ended its existence. Probably, the process itself and its result are important here. But to whom is it important and what result does it expect?

Mysterious director

Apparently, behind the curtains of this “ancient theater” there is a mysterious “director” who periodically makes necessary adjustments to the history of civilization.

To figure out what’s what, you need to look at current trends in science. Where does a person strive with such an irresistible desire to “play God.” This attracts him and at the same time frightens him, but in no way turns him away from the intended path. Most likely, artificial intelligence (AI) is the purpose of our civilization’s existence.

About 50 years ago it would have seemed nonsense, but to someone, perhaps even now. However, if you trace the last 100 years of the life of our civilization, you get the feeling that most of the discoveries were given to mankind at the same time. A powerful leap has taken place in a hundred years. Why did it happen?

At the beginning of the last century, scientists recognized the existence of fields that have memory and the ability to store and transmit information. It is very likely that such or a similar field can be around the Earth and, more interesting, possess intelligence. Isn’t this the same “Director” hiding behind the screen of the “ancient theater”?

If this is so, then at a certain moment the “Director” gives the selected scientist “access” to certain knowledge (perhaps even in a dream, like Mendeleev), and another scientific breakthrough occurs in the world. Step by step, discovery after discovery, humanity is steadily moving towards the creation of AI. The trend is already well visible.

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 92

AI is probably the next “Babylon”, which will combine all the knowledge, culture and accumulated experience of civilization. In the future, the neural network will enter into a connection with the general information field and leave humanity without knowledge, technology, and even a spoken language. This will be the next decline of civilization. And the “Director” will receive another array of new data (experience) in order to start creating a new civilization.

If someone believes that past civilizations ended in large-scale conflicts, then most likely this is already the consequences of “turning off” AI.

Co-founder of Skype talked about the threat of AI to humanity

One of the creators of the Skype internet call service, Jaan Ta

The goal of human civilization is to create AI and disappear? 93
Photo: 
© still from the movie “Terminator 2: Judgment Day”

llinn, said that the development of artificial intelligence (AI) threatens humanity. According to him, humans face three key threats, but it is AI that should be feared most of all, the expert said. 

Tallinn explained that at the moment, no one can predict what development AI will achieve in the next decades. In addition, the fact that scientists are creating artificial intelligence that can form a new AI without human intervention is also a cause for concern.

In addition, as the co-founder of the popular video calling service noted, the development of synthetic biology also causes concern. According to him, this direction in science allows the creation of artificial DNA sequences and biological systems that may not exist in nature.

Tallinn also drew attention to the fact that he fears we are entering an era of “unknown unknowns”, things that people are not even able to imagine right now.

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Volkswagen robot will autonomously charge cars: a working prototype presented

Volkswagen robot will autonomously charge cars: a working prototype presented 94
Copyright: © VW

The renowned German car manufacturer announced a new development. This time, engineers have created a unique robot capable of autonomously charging electric vehicles. 

For more than a year, specialists have been developing this project, but only now the concern was ready to demonstrate the first working prototype. The robot is ready to charge electric vehicles and has shown the high efficiency of this process.

It is called the Mobile Charging Robot, and experts have already compared it to the R2-D2 droid from Star Wars, including squeaks and clangs. Indeed, there is a similarity. Before implementing this idea, the engineers decided that robots should be allowed to charge cars parked in large residential complexes.

This will save their owners from leaving in order to find a gas station. Another advantage is that large parking lots and garages do not have to contain several expensive charging points for electric cars. The car company said in a press release that the robot works exclusively autonomously.

It independently controls and interacts with the vehicle being charged. It opens the cover of the charging socket and independently connects the power plug, then disconnects it. The robot looks like a trailer, which is a mobile energy storage.

It is capable of charging multiple electric vehicles at the same time. Despite the fact that the manufacturer confidently praises its concept, experts saw inefficiency in the fact that first it is necessary to charge the robot’s battery, which is then used to recharge electric cars.

Volkswagen Group Components CEO Thomas Schmall noted that creating an efficient charging infrastructure for the cars of the future is an important step in the company’s development.

Its engineers focus on finding solutions to avoid costly do-it-yourself measures. The mobile robot is only part of the concept that will continue to be developed.

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