Len Lawrence, a former BAE pilot whose health was seriously damaged by toxic fumes on board the aircraft he worked on, draws attention to a legal breakthrough in the States.
In 2017 the weekly update issued by JetBlue Master Executive Council, which implements the policies and procedures of the Air Line Pilots Association International, reported that one of Jet Blue’s pilots, from Redmond, Oregon, had been exposed to dangerous cockpit fumes (full details here).
“In January, Captain Andrew “Kirk” Myers was exposed to fumes while performing an engine run up at the request of maintenance. As a result of the fumes event, Kirk has had numerous health problems, been out on medical leave for months, and may never return to the flight deck”.
His employer, JetBlue Airways, a Long Island-based commercial airline, had stopped paying benefits to Myers, who’s been unable to fly since the 2017 incident.
Administrative law judge Darren Otto rules for this pilot injured by toxic fumes
Five days ago it was reported that the compensation claim made by Andrew Myers, subjected to toxic fumes in the cockpit, had prevailed in a hearing before law judge Darren Otto in the Oregon Workers Compensation Board Administrative court.
It’s the first case in the U.S. to establish that the fumes that injured Myers are dangerous, though Myers is far from alone in his injuries, his lawyer told The Bulletin.
The legal document: a snapshot
This was taken from a link to the website of the Aerotoxic Syndrome Team, which is dedicated to the education of flight crews and other people interested in the cause of fume contamination inside aircraft, the medical hazards of such inhalation and crews’ recognition and response. It aims to help those who have been injured.
In future will this country’s compensation-averse courts give a better hearing to British pilots and cabin crew whose health has been affected by fumes and the farmworkers who have inhaled similar pesticides?
Most readers will have heard of Dr Li Wenliang who worked at a hospital in Wuhan and alerted the authorities to this infectious new form of the coronavirus and was reprimanded by Chinese police last month for spreading “illegal and false” information about a new form of coronavirus. He later died after contracting the coronavirus from a patient.
But whereas exposure to this zoonotic disease was unforeseen, worldwide people are being affected, before birth and during their lives, by legally permitted substances used in many sectors, including agriculture, industry and transport. In Britain, whistle-blowers – medical practitioners and patients – are also silenced by medical, legal and political authorities. Is this done in order to protect a range of wealthy and powerful companies?
Richard Bruce, Len Lawrence and George Wescott are among millions worldwide who have attempted to raise the alarm after suffering serious damage to health from exposure to chemicals in these sectors.
Message received yesterday; “WE ARE THE DR LI WENLIANG[s] of UK”
Len Lawrence was a fit, experienced pilot who had been working for British Aerospace since 1989 when he experienced and recorded his first ‘fume event’ Read and hear more about the drastic steps taken to silence him here. The BBC reports that five of the UK’s largest airlines are now facing legal action by four pilots, and 47 cabin crew members. It is claimed that pilots and cabin crew are still regularly exposed to toxic fumes during flights. The Unite union has Independent expert evidence that the fumes from the oil used to lubricate the jet engines, contain organophosphates and TCP, and that long-term exposure can damage the nervous system and may lead to chronic irreversible health problems in susceptible individuals.
Such people, often sidelined and mislabelled as having psychological problems, will take heart from the Telegraph’s report that, in December, an official report confirmed that British Airways pilots were forced to wear oxygen masks as a plane suffered five “fume events” in seven weeks.
George Wescott suffered severe health problems after dipping 1,500 sheep in July 1988 with an organophosphate dip, a compulsory process ordered by government. By August 1991 he realised he would never recover sufficiently to continue farming, relinquished tenancy of the farm and set up a National Action Group to make sure fellow farmers were aware of the dangers. His interview during a protest outside the Royal Courts of Justice may be heard on video here. In a 2015 parliamentary debate, his MP said that George (right) had suffered for more than 30 years and recommended the Minister to set up a commission to get to the bottom of the issue.
In June 1992 MAFF abandoned its policy of compulsory dipping
Richard Bruce, a farm manager whose health broke down after exposure to Actellic used in grain stores, says very few realise that farmers and grain store operators have for decades been pouring OPs and other poisons (in pesticides and fungicides) into harvested grains and oilseeds. He now has an extensive knowledge on the effects of organophosphates which are used far more widely in agriculture than just sheep dip – see his comprehensive collection of information at The Organophosphate File. Like Len & George, he has met a range of obstacles and unfair dealing whilst attempting to get official recognition of the dangers of using chemicals such as malathion, pirimiphos methyl, chlorpyrifos methyl, some of which were approved long after the dangers were known.
His verdict: there are none so blind as those who are paid not to see:
“Professionally Induced Nelson’s Eye Syndrome…. They see no evidence – no matter how much there is or even if they published it themselves. All I seek is for the truth to be recognised by those who are trying to hide it in order for the public to understand what has been done to everyone”. He asks:
“Why is it that individuals are prosecuted for deliberately poisoning people but companies who make products that injure and kill thousands worldwide every year, escape blame? Makes no sense at all”.