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Posted On: January 16, 2012 by Donald W. Fohrman

Boeing Settles Health Lawsuit

An American Airlines flight attendant filed a suit against Boeing alleging that the bleed-air system aboard flight AA843 was faulty exposing her to toxic fumes resulting in the first of its kind settlement with Boeing.

Terry Williams, 42, suffers from memory loss, recurrent tremors, disabling coughing spasms, fatigue, nausea, speech impairment, loss of balance, vision impairment and numbness and tingling in her hands, arms, shoulders and feet.

Workers' Compensation doctors diagnosed Williams with neurotoxic disorder caused by the exposure to the toxic fumes aboard the aircraft she was on.

The lawsuit, which was filed in King County, Washington, claims that Boeing knew the bleed air system was faulty and did nothing to protect Williams, as well as other crew members and the passengers.

The details of the settlement are confidential. However, Boeing was required to turn over to Williams' attorneys, documents dating back to 1954/1955 which provided enough information about the bleed-air system which could potentially bring additional lawsuits against Boeing. The Association of Flight Attendants, CWA, are dealing with, on average, three new claims a week which involve flight crews exposed to toxic fumes.

Boeing "still contends that cabin air is safe to breathe and studies by independent researchers have consistently shown that existing systems for providing cabin air to passengers and crew meet applicable health and safety standards." The crews that fly these planes disagree. Airline crews have been alleging for years that Boeing's bleed air system is faulty saying that health problems date back to the 1950's.

Boeing has been using the bleed-air system when it began building airfcraft in the early 1950's. Since the advent of the 787, Boeing has substantially changed the air circulation system in the newer models.