What To Do If You Encounter Contaminated Cabin Air
There are many sources of smoke, haze, and odors (fumes) in the aircraft cabin and flight deck, such as galleys, carry-ons, lavatories, and electrical systems. Some types of contaminated air are just unpleasant, but others are toxic. The aircraft air supply system can be a source of smoke/fumes when it gets contaminated with engine oil, hydraulic fluid, exhaust/fuel, deicing fluid, and ozone. Of these, oil and hydraulic fluid smoke/fumes are the most toxic. Oil fumes may smell like dirty socks. Other descriptions include musty/moldy, old cheese, chemicals, and even electrical-like.
Most incidents with poor cabin air quality “only” involve exposure to fumes (odor) and not haze/smoke. Still, depending on the type of contaminants in the air, “just fumes” can still be toxic. If you think that you may have been exposed to either oil or hydraulic fluid-contaminated ventilation air, follow the steps below.
What To Do
AFA Contact Information
Information For Your Doctor
If Oil/Hydraulic Fumes
High-temperature oil/hydraulic fluid fumes can contaminate aircraft air supply system from engines/APU. Give your doctor the relevant safety data sheet (SDS) AND Health Care Providers’ Guide. AFA can fax these to ER/doctor upon request.
Alaska Airlines uses:
|Boeing Fleet||Airbus Fleet|
|Engine Oil||Mobil Jet Oil II*||Mobil Jet Oil II*|
|APU Oil||Mobil Jet Oil II*||Eastman Turbo Oil 2389*|
|Hydraulic Fluid||Chevron Hyjet IVa+**||Chevron Hyjet IVa+**
ExxonMobil HyJet V**
Solutia Skydrol 500B-4**
Solutia Skydrol LD-4**
Solutia Skydrol PE-5**
* contains tricresyl phosphates, per SDS
** contains tributyl phosphates, per SDS.
Fumes can contain carbon monoxide (CO). Notify doctor if you took oxygen (recommended) because it can influence the CO blood test. Information regarding blood tests to discuss with doctor can be found at http://ashsd.afacwa.org/docs/docinfo.pdf.