Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Rep. Garamendi and Sen. Blumenthal Introduce Bill to Protect Airline Passengers and Crew from Toxic Jet Fumes

April 10, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC—Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA) and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced the bicameral Cabin Air Safety Act (H.R.2208) to protect commercial airline passengers and crew from toxic cabin air. Congressman Garamendi is a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Senator Blumenthal is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

“All Americans have the right to expect safe, clean air when travelling or reporting to work. I am deeply concerned by the documented cases where pilots, flight attendants, and other airline crewmembers have become sick and even hospitalized from toxic cabin air,” said Congressman Garamendi. “The Cabin Air Safety Act takes commonsense steps to protect airline passengers and crew, including installing carbon monoxide detectors in commercial aircraft. I thank Senator Blumenthal for leading this bill last Congress and look forward to working with him to advance this critical legislation.”

“This legislation would protect the flying public and airline crews by ensuring the cabin air they breathe during flights is safe—free from any hidden and toxic fumes.  Our bill would require the FAA and aircraft manufacturers to stop ignoring this horrific issue – mandating thorough investigation of dangerous cabin air quality reports, proper training and resources for pilots and flight attendants, and the installation of carbon monoxide sensors on commercial flights,” said Blumenthal.

“Toxic fume” events occur when air contaminated by engine exhaust, fuel fumes, de-icing fluids, and ozone enters the aircraft cabin through the jet engine intake. Exposure to even low levels of these contaminants can incapacitate passengers and crew, and long-term exposure could lead to serious, debilitating health issues. The Cabin Air Safety Act (H.R.2208) would better protect airline passengers and crew members by:

  • Mandating Training Regarding Toxic Fumes on Aircraft: Require that flight attendants, pilots, aircraft technicians, and first responders receive training on identifying toxic fumes. The training materials will include education on sources and types of fumes, symptoms, appropriate responses, and how to report incidents.
     
  • Requiring FAA to Record and Monitor Reports of Fume Events: Directs the FAA to develop a standardized form/system to record airline crew reports of toxic fumes. The FAA is required to publish these reports at least quarterly on a public website, so that they can be searched, reviewed, and analyzed.
     
  • Ensuring Investigations Occur: Requires the FAA to conduct investigations, in cooperation with the airlines and labor unions, after a toxic fume event to study the cause and prevent future events.
     
  • Installing Carbon Monoxide Sensors on Aircraft: Directs airline manufacturers and air carriers to install and operate carbon monoxide detectors situated in the air supply system to best enable pilots and maintenance technicians to locate the sources of air supply contamination. These detectors will alert the crew if carbon monoxide levels exceed national air quality standards. Aircraft manufacturers must develop procedures that inform the crew on how to respond to alarms.

The Cabin Air Safety Act (H.R.2208) is endorsed by the Air Line Pilots Association International, Association of Professional Flight Attendants, Association of Flight Attendants, Transport Workers Union of America, Allied Pilots Association, Association of Professional Flight Attendants, International Union of Teamsters, National Consumers League, Southwest Airlines Pilots’ Association, and International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.