Monday, 19 November, 2018

Cancer rates in flight attendants soar

Flight Attendants Have Higher Rates of Many Cancers Study Says Flying for work may come at a health costMore
Ben Pena | 28 June, 2018, 20:45

Male flight attendants were found to have higher rates of melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer (1.2% and 3.2% in flight crew compared to 0.69% and 2.9% in the general population, respectively), especially if they were exposed to high levels of occupational secondhand smoke before the introduction of smoking bans in 1998. The comparison indicated a higher risk of various types of cancers in flight attendants than the people who did not belong to that profession.

The paper deduced that the cancer rates were most likely a result of being exposed to occupation-related factors such as cosmic ionizing radiation at flight altitude.

If you've even sat in the wrong spot, you're more likely to get sick.

Although these risk factors are known, cabin crews have not previously been included in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration protections that usually help safeguard workers in the U.S. In 2014, some protections were introduced; however, these do not involve the monitoring or regulation of exposure to radiation.

The co-author of the study, Irina Mordukhovich at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said in a statement, "Something that somewhat surprised us, to some extent, was that we also saw a higher instance of breast cancer in women with three or more children". Job tenure did not appear to be associated with breast cancer, thyroid cancer, or melanoma in all women, but it was associated with higher risk of breast cancer in women who never had children (nulliparous women) and women who had three or more children. Funding for the study came from the Flight Attendant Medical Research Institute. 30 flight hours of exposure to ionizing radiation would equal one chest x-ray, but they spend much less time in the air than a flight crew. "This may be due to combined sources of circadian rhythm disruption-that is sleep deprivation and irregular schedules-both at home and work", Mordukhovich added.

A separate study in April involving almost 6,100 US flight attendants found no meaningful link between cosmic radiation or circadian rhythm disruption and several cancers.

The authors of the research say the findings suggest that efforts should be made to reduce the risk of cancer among flight crew members.

Colombia's James Rodriguez injured during Senegal World Cup game
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The research team reported in the most recent report released in the journal Environmental Health that airline crews have comparatively higher rate of risk to develop many types of cancers including melanoma and breast cancer, than that of general folk.

Disruptions in circadian rhythm - a person's daily sleep-wake cycle - are linked to an increased cancer risk, studies have shown.

Another possible threat to the health of cabin crew members is chemical exposure, according to the study. The current study used information from the 2014 to 2015 survey and compared it to health outcomes from 2,729 control subjects who were matched for socioeconomic status.

British experts have estimated airline crews receive a higher dose of radiation over a year than workers in the nuclear industry.

This is because they fly more northerly routes where exposure to cosmic radiation is highest. The study did not examine the health impact of frequent flying among airline passengers.

PPG Aerospace recently unveiled a new transparency film that can be applied to cockpit and cabin windows to prevent harmful UVA, UVB, and HEVBLUE rays from entering the aircraft.

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