Australian news, and some related international items

Ionising radiation: the risk in frequent air travel, especially for women

Ionizing radiation increases cancer risk for frequent flyers, Elko Daily Free Press,  Robert Ashley, M.D Aug 3, 2018 

“…….Commercial airline flying is a relatively new experience. The concept of flying to multiple locations for business would have been inconceivable 100 years ago. The evolution of the human body has not been adapted to flight, so the exposure of humans to prolonged airplane travel is a change that may have health consequences. At higher altitude there is greater exposure to ionizing radiation. Flight attendants and pilots spend much of their working time 30,000 feet above the Earth’s surface, so their health may give us an indication of potential hazards with flying.

A recent study in the journal Environmental Health looked at 5,366 former and current flight attendants and compared them with a control group of the same age and health. More than 80 percent of the flight attendants were women. The average age of the participants was 52 and the average duration at the job was 20 years.

The authors looked at the number of cancers in the flight attendants and found a greater rate of cancer overall compared with the control group. In women, there was a 51 percent greater prevalence in breast cancer, a 2.27 times greater risk of melanoma and a 4.09 times greater risk of other types of skin cancer. The elevations of skin cancer were not as great among male flight attendants. There were also increases in the rates of uterine, cervical, gastrointestinal and thyroid cancer among female flight attendants. …….

ionizing radiation is a risk factor for breast and non-melanoma skin cancers. Cabin crews have the highest annual ionizing radiation dose out of all American workers. While I believe there is a greater risk of cancer among flight attendants, I also feel that confounding factors may make the risk less than what is reported. ….


August 6, 2018 - Posted by | General News

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