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Microlight » Human Factors » Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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.

Fuel, lubricant and hydraulic oil vapours are all irritants and their fumes can be toxic. In pressurised aircraft the likelihood of these entering the ventilation system is reduced, but oil leaks in gas turbine compressors can easily lead to polluted air conditioning supplies in passenger carrying aircraft.  Anti-icing fluids and fire extinguishants can be highly toxic and can conceivably enter the cabin air from the same source.

Most poly-carbonates (plastics) give off highly toxic fumes when burning.  Since many of the cabin furnishings and much of the passenger luggage is made from these materials, toxic fire hazards are considerable in the cabin.  

Toxic smoke is the main cause of passenger deaths in aircraft ground accidents.

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