Chronic jet fuel exposure could be detrimental to Air Force personnel, not only by adversely affecting their work performance but also by predisposing these individuals to increased incidences of infectious disease and cancer.
Chronic exposure to jet fuel has been shown to adversely affect human liver function, to cause emotional dysfunction, to cause abnormal electroencephalograms, to cause shortened attention spans, and to decrease sensorimotor speed.
Currently, there are no standards for personnel exposure to jet fuels of any kind, let alone JP-8 jet fuel. Kerosene based petroleum distillates have been associated with hepatic, renal, neurologic and pulmonary toxicity in animals models and human occupational exposures. The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that over 1.3 million workers were exposed to jet fuels in 1992. Thus, jet fuel exposure may not only have serious consequences for USAF personnel, but also may have potential harmful effects upon a significant number of civilian workers.
Short-term 7 day JP-8 jet fuel exposure causes lung injury as evidenced by increased pulmonary resistance, a decrease in bronchoalveolar lavage concentrations of substance P, increased wet lung body weight ratio, and increased alveolar permeability. Long-term exposures, although demonstrating evidence of lung recovery, results in injury to secondary organs such as liver, kidneys and spleen.
Read full report at the US Defence Technical Information Centre here.
The Irish Air Corps uses JetA1 with added fuel system icing inhibitor (FSII) which while being very similar to JP-8, is not identical as it is lacking some additives used in very high performance military engines.
But is very similar and almost all the health concerns related to JP-8 would be common to JetA1.
The Formation Safety Office at the Irish Air Corps believe refueling to be a “low risk” activity yet it appears to be driving IBS/ IBD havoc amongst personnel in Baldonnel who handle fuel.