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Parliamentary questions
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26 October 2011
Question for written answer E-009668/2011
to the Commission
Rule 117
Andreas Mölzer (NI)

 Subject: Neurotoxin TKP in aircraft cabins
 Answer in writing 

According to a recently published study, scientists have detected the dangerous neurotoxin TKP in airline passengers’ blood. Experts say the cause of the problem lies in artificial ventilation systems. Most major commercial aircraft are equipped with completely-sealed-off, pressurised cabins. In order that people can breathe, therefore, air needs to be artificially pumped into the cabin from the outside. This is achieved by means of so-called ‘bleed air’, in which compressed air is drawn from the engines and pumped into the cabin through the air-conditioning unit. Even the smallest technical engine fault can lead to TKP — a common additive in turbine engine oil — getting into the cabin. People affected by TKP complain of breathlessness, nausea and vomiting, headaches, dizziness, problems with coordination and impaired vision. Furthermore, it can also lead to symptoms of paralysis or long-term neurological defects. Symptoms and complaints of ill-health that can be traced back to inhaling of contaminated cabin air are commonly placed under the term ‘aerotoxic syndrome’.

1. How does the Commission view the danger to risk groups (frequent-flyers, cabin crew, pregnant women, etc.)?

2. Is the Commission planning to stipulate the use of TKP-free turbine engine oil?

3. Is the Commission planning to regulate the building of filter systems by airline operators?

4. Will there be an exchange of information between the Commission and the aviation industry to discuss the contamination of cabin air?

Original language of question: DEOJ C 168 E, 14/06/2012
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