This lawsuit resurrects a series of old and discredited claims about the quality of Boeing’s cabin air, and our position on this issue has not changed.
The air in our airplane cabins is safe. Boeing’s bleed air systems meet all applicable FAA requirements, and an overwhelming body of scientific evidence – including independent research conducted by universities and government agencies – confirms the safety of Boeing’s bleed air systems and the air on board our airplanes.
The current lawsuit distorts and misrepresents the facts and the science, and we intend to contest these claims vigorously.
After WGN Investigates asked the following questions, we received another response from Boeing.
WGN-TV again requests on on-camera interview to address some of the issues below. We have the following questions:
— How often do smoke/fume events occur on Boeing planes?
— Does Boeing acknowledge that oil fumes can get into the airplane cabin and cause contamination of the conditioned air?
— Do Boeing planes have air filters for air quality resulting from engine oil or smoke or fume events? This would be separate from HEPA filters to address passenger contagious diseases.
— Do any Boeing planes have any sensors to detect high levels of carbon monoxide? If so, which model and how many planes?
— How does Boeing respond to an internal memo from George Bates on 10/26/2007 discussing bleed air stated: “Bottom line is I think we are looking for a tombstone before anyone with any horsepower is going to take interest.”
— Numerous reports across the industry suggest that manufacturers, including Boeing have been aware of smoke/fume problems for decades. Do you have any response?
— There has been testing that illustrate the dangers of ToCP or TCP’s. Is Boeing aware of these reports? Do you have any comment?
— Can you provide WGN-TV the research for your claim: an “overwhelming body of scientific evidence – including independent research conducted by universities and government agencies – confirms the safety of Boeing’s bleed air systems and the air on board our airplanes.”
— Who is the Boeing MSDS# 139541 REV 08/09/2007 addressing?
Below is a summary of how bleed air systems work that might be useful.
I’ve also included some research I can point you to. We’ll decline to comment any further.
Most aircraft in use around the world today use bleed air systems to ventilate and pressurize the cabin. Bleed air systems have been in use for many decades. In a bleed air system, a small percentage of the compressed air in the compressor section of the engine is diverted, or “bled,” off the engine upstream from the combustion chamber where fuel is added. Outside air is always entering the environmental control system and is constantly circulating in the cabin. One-half of the air supplied to the cabin comes from the bleed air system, and the other half is recirculated from the cabin itself. Before this recirculated air is returned to the cabin, it is drawn through HEPA filters which remove over 99% of any particulate matter that may be present.
Bleed air research has been comprehensively surveyed in reviews conducted by the UK Civil Aviation Administration (2004), House of Lords Science and Technology Committee reviews (2000), SAE International (2003), the UK Committee on Toxicity (2007 and 2013), and Project 1262 of the FAA Airliner Cabin Environmental Research Center (ACER) and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). The most recent position paper from the UK Committee on Toxicity (2013) analyzed the results of four recent studies as well as peer-reviewed literature since 2007.
See Cranfield Research Report YE29016 V (April 2011). Similarly, a 2012 study showed that, with few minor exceptions, air quality in commercial aircraft is comparable to, or better than, conditions for offices, schools and residences. See Report No. RITE-ACER-CoE-2012-6, “In-Flight/Onboard Monitoring: ACER’s Component for ASHRAE 1262, Part 2,” April 2012.