Could Air Travel be making you sick ? – Sarah Best

Nearly all of us suffer the effects of jet lag after a long-haul flight. It’s no surprise that travelling from one time zone to another in a cramped and dehydrating environment makes us feel under par for a few days afterwards. But what if you are one of the many who have continued to feel unwell for weeks – or even months – after travelling by plane? You may have wondered how it is that the very temporary discomforts of flying can possibly affect you for so long.

But once you learn that the air you breathe while on board is pumped in via the aircraft engines – yes engines – and can contain some of the most hazardous chemicals known to man, it’s no longer such a mystery. The collection of symptoms that can develop after breathing this air even has a name: Aerotoxic Syndrome. The symptoms range from short-term to long-term and from mild to serious, yet most who are affected have never heard of this condition and have no idea what is causing their ill health.

But if this is a little-known-about problem, that’s not because it’s an insignificant one, say those who’ve experienced it first hand. It’s because it is, in the words of one former airline pilot, “the aviation industry’s best-kept secret. They are literally playing Russian roulette with passengers’ health.” Let’s call this former pilot Captain X. He can’t be identified as he is in the process of suing his airline for the damage to his health suffered as a result of breathing contaminated air. Read more