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Former airline pilot calls for independent public inquiry into ‘aerotoxic syndrome’

John Hoyte has been at the centre of an international campaign aimed at highlighting so-called aerotoxic syndrome for more than a decade. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

John Hoyte has been at the centre of an international campaign aimed at highlighting so-called aerotoxic syndrome for more than a decade. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

A former Norfolk airline pilot is calling for a public inquiry into claims that contaminated air in passenger planes can lead to health problems.

John Hoyte has been at the centre of an international campaign aimed at highlighting so-called “aerotoxic syndrome” for more than a decade.

The condition is said to be caused by toxic fumes entering passenger cabins and cockpits from aircraft engines.

It is feared to be behind the deaths of several pilots and crew members, but has long been denied by airline companies.

Now, Mr Hoyte, founder of the Aerotoxic Association, wants to take the issue to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for an independent inquiry.

“It is time for an independent public inquiry to finally resolve this and to determine the necessary actions to protect the public,” Mr Hoyte said.

The association is calling for any evidence of health problems experienced by the public due to airline oil fume exposure to be directed to the ICC.

It said an inquiry will be able to determine whether “known technical solutions” should be introduced in bleed air jet airliners.

During a flight, crew and passengers breathe in a mixture of recycled cabin air and “bleed air”, which is drawn in from jet engines.

While that air is cooled, it is not filtered. Some pilots claim that faults with engine seals can lead to cabin air being contaminated with heated engine oil fumes, which contain hazardous chemicals.

Symptoms are said to include memory loss and severe headaches.

Mr Hoyte, from Bracondale in Norwich, worked as a commercial airline pilot for 30 years before taking early retirement due to ill health.

He said aerotoxic syndrome is a “preventable issue” and could be remedied by airline companies installing air filters in their planes.

A UK study into the issue, published in the WHO journal last year, said air contaminated by engine oil can “reasonably be linked to acute and chronic symptoms”.

Evidence should be submitted to the Aerotoxic Association at office@aerotoxic.org, including contact details and marked for the attention of “The International Criminal Court, The Hague, The Netherands”.


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