HC Deb 06 May 1999 vol 330 c428W
Ann Clwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what research his Department has(a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the effects on airline flight crews of organophosphate air pollution on board aircraft. [82322]

Ms Glenda Jackson

An organic phosphate compound Tricresylphosphate (TCP) is used as a load carrying additive for lubricants in aircraft jet engines. While TCP is toxic, it is not comparable to the organophosphates used in pesticides. While an aircraft is in flight, fresh air is taken in through air conditioning packs using compressed air supplied by the engines. These are designed to ensure that fumes from the engines do not enter the aircraft. However, in the very rare event of the failure of an engine seal, fumes could enter the air conditioning system and therefore the aircraft cabin. If this happens, the air conditioning unit can be isolated or the engine shut down, minimising any exposure to fumes.

We have no evidence to suggest that fumes from aircraft engines have lead to long term health problems for aircraft crew or passengers. However, we are aware that this issue is being investigated in other countries and will review the situation once those investigations are completed.