The US Congress is processing a law that will require the Federal Aviation Administration to mount research and development on systems for detecting and eliminating cabin air contamination by oil-based fumes.

The research is intended to result in the provision of on-board equipment to detect contaminants in engine and auxiliary power unit bleed air supplied to cockpits and cabins, and to filter out the contaminants.

Meanwhile, the European Association of Aerospace Industries is drawing up a general standard on cabin air quality that does not mention bleed air contamination and, unlike the US congressional process, avoids specifying "oil-based contaminants" as being one of the substances that will be considered.

This is despite the fact that, according to extensive international research results assembled by the Global Cabin Air Quality Executive, oil-based organophosphates that regularly contaminate bleed air are highly neurotoxic, hence the fact that their detection and elimination is the primary objective of the proposed US law.

Both the US Senate and the House of Representatives are considering the following wording for the law: "Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this act, the administrator of the FAA shall initiate research and development work on effective air cleaning and sensor technology for the engine and auxiliary power unit for bleed air supplied to the passenger cabin and flightdeck of a pressurised aircraft."

If passed, the Act will also require the FAA to submit a report on the research and development programme within a year of the law's enactment.

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Learmount: Contaminated air -  it's not just aeroplanes

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Source: Flight International