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PPL » Human Factors » Environmental Hazards

10.36 Environmental Hazards

Toxic Hazards in Aviation

Virtually all aircraft are directly associated with some form of substance which is in some way toxic to the human body.

Obvious examples are petrol, various oils, kerosene, and exhaust gases that, if absorbed into the body will cause harm.

The most common ways in which substances are absorbed are through the lungs, the skin and occasionally the digestive tract, and the eyes.



10.36.2 Describe the symptoms, effects and immediate treatments for the following hazards present in the aviation environment: 

(a) carbon monoxide 

Engine exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide, which is a colourless, odourless, and tasteless, but highly toxic gas and is a potential hazard in piston engine aircraft which sometimes use exhaust system heat exchangers (mufflers). 

Use of these heaters while exhaust fumes are escaping through manifold cracks and seals is reponsible for nonfatal and fatal aircraft accidents from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide takes the place of oxygen in the red blood cells, thereby preventing the carriage of oxygen to the body cells from the lungs.

It turns the blood reddish (ruddy) in colour and this may be seen in the lips, fingernails and in the cheeks, giving the patient a 'healthy' complexion.

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