Call for Evidence
Issued in March, 2000
The Science and Technology Committee of the House
of Lords has appointed Sub-Committee II, chaired by Baroness Wilcox,
to conduct an Inquiry into the health effects of travelling in
commercial aircraft. This has been prompted by public concerns
about health in the air; the increasing numbers of air travellers;
and developing knowledge of the links between health and environmental
The focus of the Inquiry is the relationship between
the various aspects of the environment for passengers and crew
in commercial aircraft (e.g. air quality, in-cabin noise, cosmic
radiation, seating arrangements and the scheduling of refreshments
and rest periods) and the health of passengers and crew. General
air safety and the impact of air travel on the wider environment
are outside the scope of the Inquiry.
The Committee will take evidence in writing and in
person, and produce a report to the House, with recommendations
addressed to Government and others, later in the year. The questions
below cover the whole range of the Inquiry. Individual witnesses
may feel able to address only some. Written evidence is invited
on these, to arrive by 2 May 2000.
1. Which features of the aircraft cabin environment
have an adverse effect on the health of passengers and crew? What
are these effects?
(a) Are there significant variations between
(b) Do some effects correlate with the length
of flight, frequency of flying or routes flown?
(c) Do some features of the cabin environment
combine to produce magnified or different health effects?
(d) Are some people more at risk than others?
(e) Where is further research most needed?
2. For passengers, are there adequate arrangements
(a) to provide advice enabling them to make
informed decisions about the health risks of flying?
(b) to check whether they are fit to fly?
(c) to help them minimise the chances of health
problems occurring in-flight?
(d) to deal with medical emergencies associated
with the cabin environment?
(e) to track effects which may appear post-flight?
What are the differences between these arrangements
and those for the crew?
3. To what extent does the health of passengers
and crew influence national and international regulators, manufacturers,
and airlines when considering civil aircraft designs and changes
in practice? Will projected developments in the design and use
of civil aircraft affect the health hazards of air travel?
4. Is the enforcement of the regulations governing
the aircraft cabin environment adequate throughout the lifetime
of an aircraft's operation? Are present differences between on-ground
and in-flight regulation justified? Are the minimum standards
adequate to ensure that the health of passengers and crew is not
compromised in the competition to reduce air fares?
5. To reduce the risks of adverse health effects
for passengers and crew, what changes might be made in:
(a) the regulatory framework?
(b) the design, use and maintenance of aircraft?
(c) the information provided to passengers and
Would the costs be justified by the health benefits?