HENRY Smith has repeated calls for the Government to investigate a deadly illness affecting cabin crew members and frequent flyers which is feared to have taken the life of a former Crawley man.
The town’s MP spoke at a Parliamentary debate last month on the issue of aerotoxic syndrome, which is caused by contaminated air in passenger jets.
Cabin crew member Matt Bass, who lived in Crawley for some of his career while working for British Airways and easyJet, died aged 34 in 2014 and it is feared his death was due to aerotoxic poisoning.
Matt Bass – Former BA Cabin Crew
This has led to concerns that thousands of airline workers in the town could be at risk of developing the illness.
Speaking during the debate, Mr Smith said: “Whether I was meeting constituents in Ifield or on the other side of my constituency in Maidenbower, people were raising this matter with me. What struck me clearly was that this issue was of huge concern to them.”
Mr Smith said he is concerned the symptoms linked with aerotoxic poisoning could be misdiagnosed as other conditions. “The symptoms that affect many cabin crew can be confused with other conditions such as Crohn’s disease.
“Also, it seems highly likely to me from the research that I have done on the issue that aerotoxic syndrome is a real health outcome of prolonged exposure to toxic air. The issue therefore deserves the attention of Parliament and of the Department for Transport.”
Air circulated around the cabins of most passenger jets goes through the engines first.
Seals which are designed to keep the air separate from oil used to lubricate the engines are not 100 per cent effective.
If these seals fail a significant amount of contaminated air can be circulated. These are known as “fume events” and are the biggest cause of concern.
Mr Smith said he was pleased that 21 Boeing 787 Dreamliner plans have been ordered by airlines at Gatwick Airport because these aircraft do not have their cabin air pass through the engines.
At the end of the debate Mr Smith and other MPs pledged to press the Department for Transport and the Civil Aviation Authority to investigate the illness.