Your Master Executive Council (MEC) encourages you to GIVE TEN dollars to this important cause, and GET TEN friends to do the same in order to combat toxic oil fumes onboard.
Ever smelled dirty socks onboard? A dirty socks smell in the cabin could be engine oil fumes in the ventilation air. You read that right: the air that comes through the cabin and flight deck vents is first compressed in the engines, and it isn’t filtered before you breathe it on all aircraft except for the Boeing 787. AFA regularly receives reports from members who report dirty socks or musty fumes in the cabin supply air. This exposure can result in problems with memory, balance, speech and other long-lasting symptoms. Nobody thinks it will happen to her or him until it does.
As things stand, flight attendants often have difficulty accessing the aircraft maintenance records—if at all—in order to prove that oil contaminated the cabin air. Even when maintenance records are accessed, it can be very challenging to verify after the incident that oil contaminated the cabin air. Additionally, there is no current blood test specific to these fumes. Consequently, airlines often say that “nothing was wrong” and that crews are just imagining their disabling symptoms.
Fortunately, a dedicated research team at the University of Washington is developing a blood test specific to the aviation engine oil. KOMO News ran an article back in September “UW creating test to measure toxic exposure in airplane cabins” in which AFA International President Sara Nelson was quoted. You may be interested to know that Council 19 Seattle and your MEC coordinated to donate $5000 to UW’s Dr. Clem Furlong and his team this past fiscal year.
You can help the effort by visiting GIVE TEN, GET TEN. The GIVE TEN, GET TEN campaign is overseen by Clean Up Cabin Air, which is a group that as of this writing is in the final stages of becoming a non-profit organization. Clean Up Cabin Air is led by volunteer flight attendants—including some of our very own (who wish to remain anonymous)—and their supporters.
From the GIVE TEN, GET TEN campaign page:
“A single person’s TEN DOLLARS won’t fund anything, but our GOAL is to bring ENOUGH people onboard that ENOUGH ten dollar donations are received, that the research will be a success, for the good of crews everywhere. So please, GIVE TEN, GET TEN, and encourage your flying partners, family, friends, people you don’t even like, your dog, your barista, the guy who fixes your car, anyone and everyone, to do the same…
Don’t leave the page until you have given $10 and sent the link to ten people!“
All flight attendants and pilots need this blood test to be available, so the MEC is encouraging everybody to GIVE TEN, GET TEN. As an added incentive and in keeping with the GIVE TEN theme, AFA Alaska will automatically match each member’s donation dollar for dollar up to a maximum of $10,000 total donation. We will work directly with Clean Up Cabin Air to make that happen—no need for you to do anything!
If you are exposed to oil fumes onboard, then you need to be able to prove it. All of us need the industry to feel more motivated to clean up the cabin air!
Your MEC – Jeffrey Peterson, Brian Palmer, Yvette Gesch, Lisa Pinkston, Laura Masserant, Cathy Gwynn, Sandra Morrow, Stephen Couckuyt; MEC Air Quality Chairperson Karyn Kobe; and AFA-CWA Air Safety, Health and Security Department Industrial Hygienist Judith Anderson