The Journal of Biological Physics and Chemistry



Volume 23, Number 1, pp. 20-24




Anatomy of an occupational hazard: Cabin air contamination in the air transportation industry Part 2. Root cause

J.M. Lind


The primary aim of the 1978 Airline Deregulation Act in the USA was to encourage competition with the effect of lowering fares, rendering air travel more accessible to a wider segment of the population. Unsurprisingly, airline revenue plummeted. The resulting need for drastic cost-cutting was partly met by neglecting costly engine maintenance which, in turn, led to cabin air contamination. Nevertheless, airlines have tended to ignore it and some now discourage pilots from diverting flights in case of a significant contamination event. The health of pilots and flight attendants has been impaired yet employees are denied compensation; the regulatory body, the FAA, has dismissed concerns and failed to adequately investigate contamination events. With hindsight, it is astonishing that vital health and safety consequences of legislation were so completely overlooked.


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