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What is Aerotoxic Syndrome?

  • Article
  • 2023-12-30

Aerotoxic syndrome is a term used to describe health problems that may be caused by exposure to polluted air in aircraft cabins. The syndrome was first identified in the 1990s and has since received significant attention, both in the scientific community and in the aviation industry.

Cause and Exposure

The main cause of Aerotoxic Syndrome is believed to be exposure to air contaminated with chemicals such as organophosphates, which can be released from engine oils and hydraulic fluids. This air is introduced into the cabin via the "bleed air" system, which directs air from the engines to the cabin. This system can potentially lead to small leaks of contaminated air.


The symptoms of Aerotoxic Syndrome are diverse and can range from mild complaints such as headache, fatigue and dizziness to more serious neurological and respiratory problems. In some cases, long-term effects are reported, such as memory loss and chronic fatigue.

Scientific Research and Debate There is still much debate about Aerotoxic Syndrome, with some scientists and aviation authorities questioning its severity and even existence. However, several studies have shown that cabin air can contain pollutants, and there have been cases of pilots and cabin crew developing symptoms after suspected exposure.

Measures and Recommendations

Some airlines and manufacturers have taken steps to reduce the risk, such as improving air filtration systems and developing alternative air circulation systems that do not rely on bleed air. Nevertheless, industry and health experts are calling for further research and additional safety measures.

The discussion on Aerotoxic Syndrome highlights the importance of continued monitoring and research into the quality of air in aircraft cabins, both for the health of airline staff and passengers.

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