As Airplane Safety Concerns Rise, Congressman Frost Introduces Bipartisan “Safe Air on Airplanes Act” to Protect Passengers and Flight Crews

After Hearing From a Local Flight Attendant, Frost Introduces Bill to Stop Passengers and Crew from Inhaling Toxic Jet Fumes on Planes

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, Congressman Maxwell Alejandro Frost (FL-10), alongside Congressmen Mike Lawler (R-NY) and John Garamendi (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan Safe Air on Airplanes Act, legislation to secure clean air on airplanes to ensure the safety of the nearly 3 million people including flight crews and passengers that fly daily.

Specifically, the Safe Air on Airplanes Act would work to phase out bleed air systems which currently exist on almost all commercial aircrafts and supply the air we breathe through the engine’s compressors.

When fuel or toxic fluids leak from the engine or other systems, it can lead to an explosion of toxic air, or a “fume event,” exposing passengers and crew to dangerous engine fumes and harmful chemicals that are small enough to pass through air filters, forcing passengers and cabin crews to inhale the harmful toxins.

Inhaling these fumes can lead to chronic illnesses which have ended the careers of pilots and flight attendants regularly exposed. And it can also have an immediate health impact on passengers including difficulty breathing, dizziness and vomiting, irregular heart rate, and memory loss. The Boeing 787 model is the only airplane that does not use a bleed air system.

Congressman Frost was inspired to introduce the legislation after hearing from local constituent Shannon De Witt, a flight attendant currently on medical level after being exposed to a fume event while on the job, gravely impacting his health and well-being.

“It’s unacceptable and a huge failure of the airline industry that the millions of passengers and crew flying daily are at risk of inhaling dangerous, toxic fumes and chemicals when they step onto an airplane,” said Congressman Maxwell Frost. “Flight attendants like Shannon De Witt, and all passengers and flight crews deserve clean air on each and every flight they take. Airplane safety is top of mind for Americans and clean, safe air to breathe needs to be a part of this conversation.”

“Since coming to Congress, I’ve worked across the aisle to safeguard Americans from dangerous chemicals - from legislation mitigating PFAS contamination in our airports to bills preventing pollution in the Hudson River and our nation’s waterways,” said Congressman Mike Lawler. “Every day, millions of airline passengers are at risk to dangerous fume exposure due to the flawed bleed air systems in almost all passenger aircrafts. That’s why I’m proud to work with Congressman Frost and colleagues on both sides of the aisle to introduce the Safe Air on Airplanes Act, which will phase out these obsolete systems and protect the health and safety of the nearly three million daily airborne Americans.”

“All Americans have the right to expect safe, clean air when they fly. I am deeply concerned by the documented cases where pilots, flight attendants, and passengers have become sick and even hospitalized from toxic cabin air on planes with bleed air pressurization systems. I am delighted to partner with my colleague Congressman Frost on this critically important legislation to refocus aircraft manufacturers on safety above all else, by phasing out new commercial planes with these systems intaking air from the jet engines to pressurize the cabin,” said Congressman John Garamendi, a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

The Safe Air on Airplanes Act has been endorsed by the Association of Flight Attendants – CWA, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and the Transport Workers Union of America.

“No one should get sick because the air on our planes becomes contaminated with poisons,” said Sara Nelson, International President of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA. “For years, Flight Attendants have been demanding action to fix air bleed systems and protect Flight Attendants, pilots, and passengers from toxic fumes. Rep. Frost and his colleagues are taking meaningful action to protect crew and the health and safety of the entire traveling public.”

“Our Flight Attendants and airline workers have dealt with toxic air on board aircraft for years, risking serious health issues due to prolonged exposure. This bill would create better working conditions for everyone on board – along with the traveling public who also suffers when contaminated air seeps into the cabin,” said TWU International President John Samuelsen.

The Safe Air on Airplanes Act will ensure a future where pilots, cabin crew, and airline passengers will not have to fear fume events. The act will:
End the use of bleed air systems for ventilation in new commercial aircraft design.

Require filters on bleed air systems to effectively keep oil particulates out of flight deck and cabin air within seven years.

Totally phase out the use of bleed air systems for ventilation in existing commercial aircraft designs in the coming years.



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