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Congress Must Improve Cabin Air Quality to Protect Flight Attendants and Passengers

For Immediate Release
For Further Information Contact
TTD, AFL-CIO
202.628.9262

WASHINGTON, DC– Saying that “flight attendant unions have mounting evidence that a disproportionate number of flight attendants who routinely work in cabins with poor air quality suffer from respiratory problems and a range of health difficulties including severe headaches, loss of balance, tremors, and short-term memory loss,” transportation labor leaders today urged Congress to step forward and enact meaningful legislation to improve cabin air quality and protect the safety and health of flight attendants and the flying public.

In a policy statement adopted at its biannual meeting, the Executive Committee of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD) said the “the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), aircraft manufacturers, and the airlines have failed to resolve or address this pressing health issue.”  FAA’s outright rejection of recommendations to institute and manage a centralized air quality incident reporting system that could be used to target problem aircraft or problem routes contributes greatly to the lack of data documenting the illnesses affecting flight attendants and passengers.

“Flight attendants and passengers are getting sick on flights every day while the FAA ignores this mounting health threat,” said TTD President Edward Wytkind.  “It is especially outrageous that the FAA will not even endorse and manage a reliable reporting system.”

TTD said poor air cabin quality is caused by many factors and is not simply a matter of dirty re-circulated air and increased exposure to possible contagious diseases from other passengers.  Exhaust fumes and heated deicing fluids can expose passengers and crew to dangerous chemicals.  Heated oils and hydraulic fluids can leak or spill into the air supply system as well exposing passengers and crew to carbon monoxide.  Other areas of concern include the pressurization of the aircraft cabin, exposure to ozone gas, cabin temperature fluctuation and the spraying of planes for pesticides.

The transportation labor group unanimously endorsed the passage of legislation that would mandate a safer and healthier air craft cabin and provide recourse for injured workers.  Congress needs to make the FAA finally implement protective measures to prevent air supply contamination and ensure passengers and crew are safe.

Please visit www.ttd.org for a copy of the full statement.

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About TTD
Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD), a Washington, D.C.-based labor organization, represents several million transportation workers in the private and public sector.  The 31 member unions of TTD work in aviation, bus, mass transit, rail, trucking, highway, longshore, maritime and related industries.  TTD works with Congress and the Executive Branch including the transportation related Federal Agencies to protect good jobs, increase wages, defend workers’ rights, increase transportation safety plus security and ensure adequate funding for our nation’s transportation infrastructure.  Under the umbrella of the AFL-CIO, which represents more than 9 million workers in the United States, TTD handles policy and legislative issues related to transportation. Visit
www.ttd.org for more information.

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