Civil Aviation Section creates an Air Quality Working Group

November 21, 2014

On 12 November, the Section Committee of the ITF decided to establish an Air Quality Working Group to more powerfully and systematically raise awareness and find solutions to poor air quality in aircraft and at airports.

The ITF has long-recognised the negative safety and health implications of exposure to engine oil fumes on commercial and cargo aircraft. Airline workers can be exposed to fumes as a result of defective designs that use unfiltered engine air for cabin and flight deck ventilation.

Hundreds of thousands aviation workers who work around aircraft at airports are also seriously exposed to very harmful ultrafine particles.

The ITF recognizes the growing body of literature regarding the toxicity of oil fumes and the growing number of reported fume incidents in which flight safety was compromised because of crew member impairment.

The recent ITF Congress and Civil Aviation Section Conference in Sofia, held in August 2014, put a spotlight on this issue. When combined with routine reports of oil fume incidents from ITF affiliate union members and air quality concerns at airports, this has prompted the ITF Civil Aviation section to now create a dedicated Air Quality Committee.

The formation of this Working Group confirms the high priority that the ITF has assigned to address the hazards of exposure to oil-contaminated ventilation air on aircraft and the effects of pollutants in the airport environment. Its expert members will play an influential role in deciding future ITF actions to address this flight safety and aviation workers’ health hazard.

The Working Group will complement existing ITF efforts to raise awareness about means to recognize and respond to the presence of on-board oil fumes and exposure to ultrafine particles at airports amongst its affiliate unions.

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