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Airlines and Aircraft Operators Get an ‘Aerotoxic Headache’ with Launch of Worlds First Fume Event Detector

UK’s Top Laboratory Officially Verifies VN Aerotoxic Detection Solutions’ Innovative Poisonous Compound Air Sensor for Aviation Industry

The airline industry cannot continue to hide from the issue of toxic cabin air whilst placing the health and safety of aircrew at risk.”
— Howard Beckett
LONDON, UK, May 16, 2022 / -- UK’s Top Laboratory Officially Verifies VN Aerotoxic Detection Solutions’ Innovative Poisonous Compound Air Sensor for Aviation Industry.

“Fume Events”, where the aircraft cabin fills with toxic fumes, smoke and strong noxious smells are now being regularly reported by pilots, cabin crew and passengers. The effects of cabin air contamination on passengers and crew include dizziness, headaches, breathing problems, loss of mental capacity and even vomiting. (See Image 1 & 2 London Heathrow to Valencia flight, BA422, was forced to make an emergency landing on August 5, 2019, after the cabin filled with smoke 10 minutes before landing).

The cabin air in most passenger jets is supplied from the compression section of the engine in a process known as “bleed air”. If seals inside the engine leak, it is believed that heated oil fumes can enter the air supply, contaminating it with chemicals that experts believe cause serious health problems.

Historically it has not been possible to detect these poisonous compounds to establish and prove their presence. Now, VN ADS has developed a portable sensor able to detect in real-time, individual poisonous compounds that are present in the aircraft cabin.

Campaigners claim these events can cause “Aerotoxic Syndrome” in regular fliers, an illness linked with the deaths of at least two pilots, including British Airways’ Richard Westgate.

The coroner investigating his death ruled in February 2014 that fumes circulating in planes posed “consequential damage” to the health of frequent fliers.

One of the UK's largest airlines is facing legal action which claims pilots and cabin crew are regularly exposed to toxic fumes during flights. The Unite union said legal notice has been served in 51 cases, the majority of which are against British Airways. EasyJet, Thomas Cook, Jet2 and Virgin Atlantic are also subject to the legal action over “Aerotoxic Syndrome”. The airlines said that previous studies found no proof of long-term ill-health arising from cabin air quality.

The Unite union, which represents airline staff, claims pilots and crew are exposed to frequent “fume events” when air drawn into the aircraft becomes contaminated by toxic compounds.

The union says the fumes, which originate from the oil used to lubricate the jet engines, contain organophosphates and TCP, and that long-term exposure can lead to chronic ill-health and life-threatening conditions. “Independent expert evidence concludes that air on board jet planes can contain a toxic mix of chemicals and compounds that potentially damage the nervous system and may lead to chronic irreversible health problems in susceptible individuals,” said Unite Assistant General Secretary for legal services, Howard Beckett.

“Use of the sensor on all flights globally will alert pilots and their cabin crew if and when poisonous compounds are present in the aircraft cabin air,” said the CEO of VN Aerotoxic Detection Solutions, David Newman. “Unquestionable evidence of a fume event, as well as low-level chronic leakage, taking place will empower airline staff to take immediate action to ensure the health and safety of everyone on the aircraft.

"For the first time since the industry adopted jet engine propulsion in 1951, the VN ADS 'Canary' sensor will provide the ability to measure the quality of aircraft cabin air in 'real-time' allowing airlines to put appropriate measures in place to ensure the health and safety of passengers and crew worldwide.

We are very proud of our work in building the world’s first volatile and semi-volatile organophosphate detector that immediately recognises neurotoxins (nerve agents) and look forward to working with 'Clean Cabin Air Conscious' Airlines and Operators to provide real-time proof for passengers and crew that the air they breathe on a daily basis is perfectly safe".

VN-ADS has worked with NPL over the past 5-years years to achieve independent validation of its proprietary technology. The sensor is now verified on its capabilities to selectively detect individual volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds such as Tributyl Phosphate (TBP). Work is ongoing to add Tricresyl Phosphate (TCP) and Triphenyl Phosphate (TPP) to its detection library.

For more information, visit

David Newman
VN Aerotoxic Detection Solutions Ltd
+44 20 7993 5307
email us here