Aerotoxic Syndrome


What is Aerotoxic Syndrome?

Aerotoxic Syndrome is the umbrella term. It is being used to describe a range of symptoms experienced by passengers and cabin crew when they have been exposed to harmful levels of contaminants in aeroplane cabin air. Aerotoxic Syndrome varies in magnitude.

Is Aerotoxic Syndrome Real?

Aerotoxic Syndrome is real and gaining recognition as the effects of contaminated cabin air become more widely understood. In 2015, the Senior Coroner for Dorset who investigated the death of pilot Richard Westgate, gave medical credence to Aerotoxic Syndrome when he stated that Westgate’s body “disclosed symptoms consistent with exposure to organophosphate compounds in aircraft cabin air.”1

What are the Symptoms of Aerotoxic Syndrome?

The symptoms of Aerotoxic Syndrome are neurological. As the toxins attack the Central Nervous System (CNS) the symptoms are wide ranging, and can be sudden onset or develop over time, but can include:

  • Feeling light-headed, dizzy, or experiencing problems with balance
  • Memory and cognition difficulties
  • Sore Throat, Eyes, Nose, and Throat
  • Respiratory problems e.g. tightness in chest, wheezing, irritation and coughing
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches and Migraine
  • Gastro-Intestinal e.g. nausea, diarrhoea, and vomiting
  • Tremors and Seizures
  • Depression, Anxiety, and Panic Attacks
  • Skin rashes
  • Blurred Vision
  • Nosebleeds
  • Muscle Aching
  • Sharp spike in Blood Pressure
How Do I Know If I’ve Had Aerotoxic Syndrome?

You should investigate if you’ve had Aerotoxic Syndrome if you have fallen ill during, or soon after, a flight. As symptoms of inhaling contaminated cabin air vary enormously, you should seek medical treatment immediately if you fall ill during or after flying. Unfortunately, Aerotoxic Syndrome is not yet routinely understood, so it may be a case of you, or your loved ones, having to bring this possibility to the attention of your healthcare team. Aerotoxic Syndrome is frequently misdiagnosed or mistreated.

Who is Affected By Aerotoxic Syndrome?

Many different people can be affected by Aerotoxic Syndrome following a ‘Fume Event’ when fumes leaked in to an aircraft cabin’s air supply. Cabin Crew and Frequent Fliers are most at risk to Aerotoxic Syndrome due to repeated exposure and increased chance of being present during a ‘Fume Event’. In addition, those with pre-existing health conditions are thought to be at increased risk. As yet it is not known if contaminated air in aircraft cabins poses a greater risk to children, the elderly, or unborn infants.

How Does Cabin Air Become Contaminated?

Cabin air can become contaminated due to its link to the warm compressed air from the aeroplane’s engine being used to provide heat to the cabin. Normally this does not pose a problem. However, if there is a leak, or a break in the seal, then the ventilation system to the cabin can become contaminated with harmful fumes.

How Do I Know if I’ve Been Exposed to Contaminated Cabin Air?

Knowing if you have been exposed to contaminated cabin air will depend on assessing your symptoms, the type of plane you have been on, and any circumstances you noticed whilst flying. At the moment many plane ventilation systems can be at risk of contamination to cabin air and there are no detection systems in place.

In the event of a ‘Fume Event’ you may experience some tell-tale signs that there is a contamination problem in the cabin air. You may notice:

  • An increased number of cabin crew or passengers coughing or displaying other symptoms, or falling ill.
  • A distinct smell resembling that of petrol, brake fluid, or a musty odour.
  • A haze or mist occurring in the air in the cabin.
Can I Claim Compensation for Breathing Contaminated Cabin Air?

It may be possible to claim compensation for breathing contaminated cabin air if you have experienced symptoms in line with Aerotoxic Syndrome. This applies for both short-term and long-term ill health effects. Compensation can be claimed via an industrial or workplace injury claim if you are Cabin Crew, this is a specialised area of Personal Injury Litigation.

Can I make a Compensation Claim for Aerotoxic Syndrome?

Yes. It is possible to claim for the ill health problems you or a loved one have experienced as a result of being exposed to contaminated cabin air.

Do I Need Specialist Legal Advice for an Aerotoxic Syndrome Claim?

It is imperative to use legal specialists when making Aerotoxic Compensation Claims. These claims are a distinct niche within industrial and workplace injury claims, and require expert knowledge of Personal Injury litigation.

In order to get the compensation you deserve, and ensure that your interests are best protected, a dedicated legal team is essential.

Attwood Solicitors- Workplace Injury Legal Experts

We have a dedicated team of Personal Injury Specialists who are dedicated to pursuing Industrial and Workplace Injury claims like Aerotoxic Syndrome. We are in the position of being able to offer FREE no obligation advice on whether you have a claim if you think you have experienced Aerotoxic Syndrome. If we believe you have a case then we are able to proceed on a No Win No Fee basis to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.

To learn more about No Win No Fee watch Trainee Solicitor Daniel Harley explain how it works.

How do I start my claim?

Your first step is to contact us in the way you are most comfortable with. We understand you have been caused distress and we care that communicating about what has happened can be difficult. YOU choose the method of contact. We will respond to YOUR needs. You can contact us through the following channels:

Phone 01782 416 016
Free Claims Helpline 0800 145 5105
Mobile Text CLAIMS to 88010 for a call back (texts are charged at Standard Network Rate)

Know someone who’s been affected?

Share this link with them or pass on our details and we’ll see how we can help.


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