FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 29, 2022
Contact: Denise Romano, firstname.lastname@example.org
The TWU Supports the Cabin Air Safety Act
Toxic Cabin Air is a Public Health Issue
WASHINGTON, D.C ‑ The Transportation Workers of America unequivocally supports the bicameral, bipartisan Cabin Air Safety Act, introduced today by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representative John Garamendi (D-CA). This life-saving bill would implement procedures to reduce and prevent toxic fume events, creating safer skies for both cabin crew and passengers, including:
- Mandating Training Regarding Toxic Smoke or Fumes on Aircraft: Require that flight attendants, pilots, aircraft technicians, and first responders receive training on identifying toxic smoke and fumes. The training materials will include education on sources and types of fumes, symptoms, appropriate responses, and how to report incidents.
- Requiring FAA to Record and Monitor Reports of Smoke or Fume Events: Directs the FAA to develop a standardized form/system to record airline crew reports of toxic smoke or fumes. The FAA is required to publish these reports at least quarterly on a public website, so that they can be searched, reviewed, and analyzed.
- Ensuring Investigations Occur: Authorizes the FAA to conduct investigations, in cooperation with the airlines and labor unions, after a toxic smoke or fume event to study the cause and prevent future events and requires the FAA to conduct such investigations if anybody required medical attention.
- Installing Air Quality Monitoring Equipment and Detectors: Directs air carriers to install and operate onboard detectors and other air quality monitoring equipment situated in the air supply system to best enable pilots and maintenance technicians to locate the sources of air supply contamination. These detectors will alert the crew to poor air quality that is dangerous to human health. Aircraft manufacturers must develop procedures that inform the crew on how to respond to alarms. The FAA is also authorized to establish standards for aircraft cabin air quality.
“The TWU has been leading the charge on this issue since 2018. I’d like to thank Sen. Blumenthal and Rep. Garamendi for shining a light on this somehow overlooked public health issue,” said TWU International President John Samuelsen. “It’s not an over-the-top request that the flying public and cabin crew know whether the air they are breathing 30,000 feet above sea level is toxic or not. No one should be subject to these health hazards.”
In the Senate, the Cabin Air Safety Act is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). In the House, the bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Representatives Brian K. Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Kaiali’I Kahele (D-HI), and Don Bacon (R-NE).
What is Toxic Cabin Air?
Because the atmosphere surrounding aircraft at 40,000 feet above sea level is too thin to breathe, modern aircraft heat air from around the wings over the engines and then compress that air before circulating it into the cabin. When this process of “bleeding” air malfunctions, TWU crew member and the traveling public can be exposed to toxins, such as carbon monoxide, which cause severe nerve damage, cancer, and other health issues.
When this process malfunctions, engine oil, hydraulic fuel and other aircraft fluids can leak into the system. These liquids can become gas or “toxic cabin air,” turning into nerve agents that can cause respiratory, neurological and psychiatric symptoms – and can be absorbed both by inhalation and through the skin. Repeated or prolonged exposure to these agents – such as that endured by flight attendants, frequent air travelers – can have devastating health effects.
Click here to read more about the TWU’s Toxic Cabin Air Campaign.
The TWU represents more than 155,000 members across the airline, railroad, transit, universities, utilities and service divisions