(Original Title © source: Krank durch vergiftete Kabinenluft)
Kerstin Konrad knows the problem through her own painful experience. The flight attendant from the Ruhr area (Germany) has experienced several “fume events” – and is now unfit to fly. “Fume events” are definition for impurities in the air in passenger aircraft.
Symptoms range from mucosal irritation to dyspnea, cardiac arrhythmia, headache, abdominal cramps, muscle weakness, flu-like symptoms and cognitive disorders. Konrad had the first “fume event” in 2013. “I felt exhausted, confused, bogged and forgetful,” she says.
“It felt like a strong intoxication or a flu.” There was also nausea, severe headache and stomach pain. Konrad was sick for five weeks. ” After the next fume event it was almost two years (off sick),” she says. She was investigated, and a whole cocktail of toxins were found in her blood, including organophosphates and volatile hydrocarbons. “I lead a largely healthy life and do not get in contact with such substances,” says Konrad. She is convinced that contaminated breathing air in the aircraft is the cause. “Fume events” happen due to air being tapped off at the turbines and sent into the cabin. “When there are leaks, engine oils and hydraulic fluids get unfiltered into the cabin air,” Konrad says.
“Long-term damage to the nerves, the cardiovascular system or cognitive impairments can be the result,” warns Kerstin Konrad. She sees a great risk for passengers, pilots and flight attendants. According to estimates by the Piloten-Vereinigung Cockpit, one of 2000 flights occurs with an accident of poisoned cabin air, according to Konrad. She quotes Jörg Handwerg, CEO of VC-Cockpit: “That would be more than one per day in Germany.” (source in part) full text in German here
source author © Uta Grossmann
publishing source © Frankfurter Rundschau fra.de
Image credits © Peter Jülich