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Blood Test to Prove Exposure to Engine Oils

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 4:09 am    Post subject: Blood Test to Prove Exposure to Engine Oils Reply with quote

As you know, crewmembers have long reported serious health problems after exposure to oil or hydraulic fluid fumes that enter the cabin and flight deck via the aircraft air supply. Time and again, airlines claim that crewmembers who report ill health after exposure to oil fumes are either malingering or have an underlying medical condition independent of the aircraft.

For this reason, it is critical that crewmembers have access to practical tools that can help them prove exposure and get proper medical attention. I am writing to inform you that the following two items are available:

(1) A health care providers’ guide intended to provide doctors with information on how oil can contaminate the aircraft air supply, the associated health effects, recommended medical work ups, and possible treatments. This publication was funded by the Federal Aviation Administration and it is posted online (in english only) at ohrca.org/healthguide.html. Affected crewmembers need to know about it so that they can print it and take it to any related medical appointments. All the information is well-referenced, making it hard to dispute.

(2) The development of a blood test that is nearing completion and is intended to allow crewmembers and passengers to prove exposure to engine oils and at least one hydraulic fluid. Researchers are analyzing proteins in the blood that are modified upon exposure to the rare and toxic TCP chemicals added to aviation engine oils. Proving exposure to TCPs makes sense because there are few sources. Airlines can not claim that a pilot was exposed to TCPs while gardening, for example. After being exposed to smoke or fumes, crewmembers can send a blood sample to a lab at the University of Washington in the US where the sample will be frozen and then analyzed once the test is ready. Go to: ashsd.afacwa.org/?zone=/unionactive/view_article.cfm&HomeID=1396 for detailed instructions and links to the necessary documents that you can post on your own website.

Please help to spread the word to your members about the availability of the health care providers’ guide and blood test. You may want to post links to this information on your union website(s); see ashsd.afacwa.org under “health”, “air quality” as an example. Also, I have attached a draft newsletter article that you are welcome to modify to your membership.

I’m glad to answer any questions. Contact details below. This will also be distributed to GCAQE members and to the ITF. Feel free to forward to any other unions.



Judith Murawski
Industrial Hygienist
Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, AFL-CIO
Seattle Field Office
Phone: 206-932-6237
Fax: 206-932-6259
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