U.S. Congress to Make Airlines Face Toxic Cabin Air Problems




U.S. Congress to Make Airlines Face Toxic Cabin Air Problems
Bills Move Forward with Stronger Reporting Requirements, Penalties for Airlines

June 15, 2001, WASHINGTON — The Aircraft Clean Air Act, introduced in both the Senate and the House on Wednesday, will prevent airlines from ignoring a serious public health issue onboard the aircraft, according to the Association of Flight Attendants, AFL-CIO. The bills will force airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration to record and respond to complaints of contaminated cabin air. 

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein and U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler introduced the legislation, which would require:

  • The FAA to accept and record cabin air quality complaints from passengers, crew members and their representatives and pass the complaints to the appropriate airline — allowing flight attendants and passengers who become ill from contaminated cabin air to link their symptoms to exposure to toxins in the air supply system.

  • The airlines to maintain records of all complaints for 10 years.

  • Airlines to provide mechanical and maintenance records within 15 days to a passenger or crew member who has developed specific symptoms that relate to contaminated cabin air.

  • A study to determine healthy oxygen levels in the cabin.

Hydraulic fluids and engine oils can get into the aircraft's ventilation air, which is pumped into the aircraft cabin. Exposure to contaminants in an aircraft's air supply can have devastating health effects ranging from simple flu-like symptoms to neurological damage.

"It's time for airline management to be held accountable for all of the crew members and passengers who fall ill due to contaminated cabin air each year," AFA International President Patricia Friend said. "This legislation is long overdue and will prevent the airlines from ignoring this important issue any longer."

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