Programme status

Here you will find the progress of the project and its different tasks

Task 1: Literature search and baseline definition

An initial literature review was performed and submitted at the beginning of the FACTS project, which will be updated at the end of the project with research performed and published by other researchers on that topic since then.

The initial literature review can be downloaded here

DOWNLOAD THE LITERATURE REVIEW

Task 2: Experimental campaign

A first test flight with provoked events was performed in February 2019. First results will be available soon. A second test flight is scheduled for July 2019.

Bleed Air Contamination Simulators (BACS) are being built up for lab experiments. Equipment move and necessary certification for large volume pressure vessels (European Pressure Vessel Regulation) have unfortunately caused significant delays. Experiments are scheduled to start in summer 2019.

As additional sub task ECS pack wipe sampling will be performed at a maintenance facility in the UK. The sampling campaign is also scheduled to start in summer 2019.
An engine test with provoked oil contamination is scheduled for fall 2019.

mini-BACS at RIVM

The mini-BACS installation at RIVM, NL

BACS build-up within safety fence

BACS build-up within safety fence

Task 3A: Screening and assessment of neuro-toxicity

The central question is whether exposure to the mixture of substances formed during fume events is hazardous for the neuronal system. Airplane bleed air fumes, that are formed during fume events are - within Task 2 and 3A of FACTS - generated in the lab, captured, and tested with in-vitro and in-vivo neurotoxicity test systems.

Preliminary experiments are performed to prepare and optimize a procedure for trapping of the complete fume mixture. The trapped fumes will be supplied to zebrafish embryos and to neuronal cells in the so-called Micro Electrode Array (MEA) (in-vitro neurotoxicity assays).

So far, in the lab some preliminary experiments were done in preparation to a more sophisticated Bleed Air Contamination Simulator (BACS) lab set-up. Oil is heated and the fumes are guided through glass tubing into a cold impinger (flask). The content of the flask is mixed into medium of the test organisms. The efficacy of the fume components trapping in the cold trap, and the transfer to fish/cell medium is examined. Therefore full-scan organic compound profiling is done of: the raw oil, the cold trapped oil and the watery medium in which the cold-trapped oil was stirred and dissolved for some days.

Task3A VITO 1

Oil was dropped onto a hot plate (500°C)

Task3A VITO 2

The oil evaporates immediately and passes through a glass tubing into a glass impinger (flask) placed in a thermos filled with liquid nitrogen

Task 3B: Risk assessment methodology

Scientists from the RIVM and TNO are working together on the risk assessment methodology. Existing data has been collected for further use by experts in the field of neurotoxicology and risk assessment. The work keeps a close link with the developments in the other CEN Cabin Air Quality task groups. During the flight, the cabin air environment is different from normal environmental conditions with regard to ambient pressure, humidity, radiation etc. Existing reference values are not in particular designed for these environmental conditions during flights. A first draft based on scientific literature exploring the applicability of existing reference values for cabin air risk assessment is already finalized. The default assessment factors and conditions are compared to the cabin air situation and the present populations (pilots, cabin crew, passengers). Exposure scenarios for acute and chronic exposures have been identified, as well as flow charts in a conceptual risk assessment framework. This includes possible adaptations to reference values for chronic exposure to account for the intermediate exposure patterns that are more appropriate for the passengers exposed to cabin air. Currently, the first drafts of the conceptual risk assessment frameworks are further revised and integrated with the recent EFSA guidance on grouping approaches1.

1 Guidance on harmonised methodologies for human health, animal health and ecological risk assessment of combined exposure to multiple chemicals. EFSA Journal 2019;17(3)

Task 3B Factors affecting

Figure 1. Natural physical factors affecting exposure in aircraft cabins.

Task 4: Countermeasures and mitigation

An initial mitigation measures report has been submitted and reviewed by the scientific committee. The report is under revision and will be available in summer 2020.

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