What is Aerotoxic Syndrome?

​You have symptoms during and after a flight and are not feeling well? You are even in pain - but your physician can not find a reason?

You could be suffering from an 'in-door' health issue similar to sick-building-syndrome: a chemical poisoning.

If you have been on a flight or several flights recently, or if you are a professional crew member, you could be suffering from 'Aerotoxic Syndrome' after inhaling contaminated cabin air over a long period of time at so called 'low levels', or just experienced one single 'fume' event, which can be with visible fumes, mist, smoke or very strong, pungent, acrid or simply unpleasant odours/ smells.

Symptoms may be acute, i.e. for a short time or chronic, i.e. long-lasting. Any combination of the following may be experienced:

  • Fatigue – feeling exhausted, even after sleep
  • Blurred or tunnel vision
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Loss of balance and vertigo
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Memory impairment
  • Headache
  • Tinnitus
  • Light-headedness, dizziness
  • Confusion / cognitive problems
  • Feeling intoxicated
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Vomiting
  • Coughs
  • Breathing difficulties (shortness of breath)
  • Tightness in chest
  • Respiratory failure requiring oxygen
  • Increased heart rate and palpitations
  • Irritation of eyes, nose and upper airways.

All of these symptoms or some of them, can lead to findings of organophosphates, kerosine fume components and pesticide chemicals = a poisoning. Organophosphates (OP) are neurotoxic agents contained in i.e. jet-engine oils, kerosine fumes, insecticides (spraying on board to certain destinations and residual spraying), hydraulic oils, flame retardants etc.

Crew and passengers, especially frequent flyers are constantly in danger of accumulating through inhalation, a slowly but surely lethal dose of these neurotoxic compounds in their system, which the body will deposit in so called 'storage organs' which are made up of fatty tissue (such as the brain, pancreas etc) .

This can lead to constant uncomfortable symptoms and ill-health. Is this a new occupational disease? Click and read: Aerotoxic Syndrome-a new occupational disease? published by WHO.

Many general medical practitioners are unaware of Aerotoxic Syndrome and may diagnose sufferers with illnesses such as psychological or psychosomatic disorders (i.e., they’ll tell you “it’s all in your mind”), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), “mysterious” viral infections, sleep disorders, depression, stress or anxiety – or simply “jet lag”, which is caused by crossing time zones.

Although some of these disorders may form part of Aerotoxic Syndrome, such part-diagnoses on their own miss the root cause of the problem, which is exposure to toxic oil components in a confined space. Furthermore, any misdiagnosis is likely to lead to inappropriate treatments, which may make the condition even worse. Aviation medicine specialists are aware of the problem but Aerotoxic Syndrome does not seem to have gained official acceptance among the majority of them. Hence, despite (or because of) their expert knowledge they are likely to seek other explanations – and there are plenty of neurological symptoms associated with aviation that have nothing to do with inhaling oil.

Give them expert knowledge from here

These toxins are particularly dangerous for babies, children and pregnant ladies.

For this to happen one does not need to be exposed to a visible 'fume event' during which you can see smoke-similar fumes in the cabin; but it can also happen by flying regularly over a longer period of time, during which you inhale with each breath you take many small doses of chemicals that seem to be present on practically every flight and are often described as smells like 'old, dirty socks' or 'wet dog', but also can smell 'electric' or acrid or pungent ... or not at all.

Actually these 'smells/ odours' are the result from chemical reactions which actually contain neurotoxic and/or cancerogenous agents.



Free info leaflet to take to your doctor!

Free INFO leaflet to download, print out and have handy in your
flight luggage to take to your doctor after a fume/ smell/ odour event! 


Other recommended Laboratory Testing

At the Laboratory after exposure to toxic cabin air:

Body fluid tests that should be done straight after, or within 48 hours of exposure to toxic aircraft air. Click and read more...


Dr. Michel Mulder


Pro Health Laboratory - Weert (NL)

Pro Health Laboratory is a fully independent organization, working together with similar labs in Belgium, Luxemburg, Germany, and the US. The aircraft cabin air tests offered on this site are intended to provide insight into whether a person was exposed to particular neurotoxic constituents of engine oil smoke/fumes on an aircraft (commercial or military). Options include an air sampler card and air pump/filter equipment, as well as a post-incident garment analysis. The blood tests offered on this site may provide insight into whether a person is especially susceptible to the effects of certain neurotoxic constituents of the engine oil fumes (DNA PON1 test), and whether there is objective evidence of damage to the central nervous system (glial autoantibody test).


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