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luchtzak
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Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:54 pm

Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome compared to the general population, a large and comprehensive study of cabin crew members by the Harvard School of Public Health (Boston) and published in the journal Environmental Health has found.

https://ehjournal.biomedcentral.com/art ... 018-0396-8
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NYPECO
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:12 am

I believe there was a study a while back that concluded the same thing with pilots.
 
Ziyulu
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:35 am

It's because they go through the metal detectors at airport security at least once every day.
 
LupineChemist
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:39 am

Isn't there a notably higher radiation exposure at altitude?

Normally small enough to be ignored but at radiation is cumulative, it can definitely add up over a career.
 
RJMAZ
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:51 am

I would say it is most likely from breathing bleed air from the engines.

Many people have done swab tests of surfaces inside an aircraft and they get readings for dangerous chemicals that are found in engine oils.

It is very hard to compress air without contaminating the air. I'm talking a very small amount of contamination. All air is contaminated to some extent, sitting in traffic is probably worse than being in a plane but we dont do that 40 hours a week. Chemicals can have a cumulative effect and build up in the blood over many years.
 
buzzard302
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:10 am

Inconsistent sleep patterns have also been linked with increased incidence of cancer. Traveling all the time with varying schedules and time zones in tough on the sleep schedule.
 
d8s
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:10 am

Ziyulu wrote:
It's because they go through the metal detectors at airport security at least once every day.


A number of studies have shown the increase in cancer in flight crews, pilots have a higher incidence in pancreatic cancer. Each trans-con is the equivalent to a full set of dental x-rays.
 
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gatibosgru
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:12 am

Ziyulu wrote:
It's because they go through the metal detectors at airport security at least once every day.


Radiation a higher altitudes may come into play as well. Plus other environmental factors.
@DadCelo
 
iamlucky13
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:28 am

Thank you for including a link to paper. Not enough discussions about topics like this ever delve into the original source, much less are forthright enough to include it.

Ziyulu wrote:
It's because they go through the metal detectors at airport security at least once every day.


Not metal detectors. X-rays machines could, but those are no longer in use for airport security. They were eliminated in 2013, and as far as I know, had only been in use since the mid-2000's.

The millimeter wave scanners in use now also have no known link to cancer risk. The wavelengths in question are even lower energy than visible light.
 
Gasman
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:44 am

It will be extremely hard to demonstrate conclusively why this happens.

We intuitively tend to blame environmental/toxic factors (radiation/bleed air/that other toxic chemical) and these things may be relevant (although there is actually some evidence to suggest that chronic low dose radiation is *protective* against cancer). However my own guess - and it is only that - is that it's more likely due to lifestyle factors. Flight crew eat a lot of bad food, and may not get much exercise. Constantly changing time zones is downright brutal on the body. How often have you seen a flight crew member aged in their 50's that looks 20 years older?
 
hiflyeras
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:46 am

Thirty seven year FA here...diagnosed with prostate cancer last fall. I made sure I completed the Harvard survey!
 
mm320cap
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 2:54 am

hiflyeras wrote:
Thirty seven year FA here...diagnosed with prostate cancer last fall. I made sure I completed the Harvard survey!


Hang in there hiflyeras. 23 year Pilot and lost a kidney to cancer at 46.

My Dad was part of a clinical trial for “radioactive bb’s” that they insert in the prostrate. The results were so striking that his Dr. published the findings and said “we don’t expect people to die from prostrate cancer anymore”. Check Sloan Kettering in NYC for info. BEST wishes to you
 
juliuswong
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:46 am

Prayers to hiflyeras and mm320cap. Hang in there!

This reminds me a few years ago when I was selected to join QR/TR/JQ (yes, I went to all three successively just to broaden my chances of getting selected) as cabin crew. Unfortunately before I can sign the dotted line, I was diagnosed with second stage leukemia. I was insistent in joining, but doctor advised it would aggravate my condition. It was and is still one of my dreams I can never fulfill.
- Life is a journey, travel it well -
 
Waterbomber
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 8:15 am

There are multiple possible causes and I actually tesearched this a fair bit on my own so I think that some will be ontetested to know that the list of hazards for crews is a loooooot longer than you can imagine.
1. Radiation at altitude, as already indicated above
2. You love the smell of burning jet fuel in the morning? Well guess what, the fumes resulting from an incomplete combustion can induce cancer. Crews are exposed to it several times a day when the APU or engines are started or when taxiing at the airport.
When winds are calm, the rubber fumes from preceding aircraft on landing are also bad.
3. Low air pressure is a major factor. Crews are exposed to low air pressure and low oxygen partial pressure for many hours a day and cabin crew have to move around in those conditions. Cells do not get the right amount of O2 and get into cycles of decaying/recovering.
4. Toxic products in the air intake and compression sections. Oil and hydraulic fluid fumes leaking from seals in the compressor section and entering bleed air ducts could be a factor, but this is exagerated as there isn't much of it to be seen in that section. Much worse are the highly poisonous substances used in jointing/sealing compounds for their special properties. Engine bolts and nuts are also dipped into compounds before tightening to prevent seizing under high temperature. Fumes from those compunds can't be good.
5. Ozone/O3 is present in the ait and can't be broken down completely by the compressor's heat and Ozone extractors. This damages airways and could also induce cancer.
6. Distorted sleep patterns can definitely cause cancer
7. Poor nutrition caused by defrosted foods served by airline catering companies and hotels as opposed to a diet of fresh local ingredients
8. The internal aircraft structures are covered with corrosion inhibitors. They are cancer-inducing.
9. Products used in airctaft maintenance tend to stick to internal surfaces. Fumes from isopropyl, acetone, solvents, paints, degreasers, hydraulic fluids, electronic fumes, mercury vapor escaping from broken fluorescent lamps, etc..

Here are some studies
Study of Health Outcomes in Aircraft Maintenance Personnel - CiteSeerX
PDFciteseerx.ist.psu.edu › viewdoc › download

https://www.google.be/amp/www.thejourna ... 7/%3famp=1

Personally, I think that crews do not know what they are getting themselves into.
There is no way of protecting oneself from all these hazards. It's a suicide marathon.
Complaining about it won't resolve the issue, the only thing that I can recommend it is to weigh whether the pay is worth the shorter life expectancy and the agony of going through cancer.
The alternative is life insurance with cancer pay outs.
 
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ro1960
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:42 am

Ziyulu wrote:
It's because they go through the metal detectors at airport security at least once every day.



The study doesn't point to this.

"Flight attendants are a highly understudied occupational cohort that is consistently exposed to several known and probable carcinogens in the cabin environment. These include cosmic ionizing radiation at flight altitude, Circadian rhythm disruption due to night shift work, irregular schedules and frequently crossing time zones, and poor cabin air quality from a number of sources. Many flight attendants working today were also exposed to high levels of secondhand tobacco smoke before in-flight smoking bans were implemented"
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mjoelnir
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:09 am

ro1960 wrote:
Ziyulu wrote:
It's because they go through the metal detectors at airport security at least once every day.



The study doesn't point to this.

"Flight attendants are a highly understudied occupational cohort that is consistently exposed to several known and probable carcinogens in the cabin environment. These include cosmic ionizing radiation at flight altitude, Circadian rhythm disruption due to night shift work, irregular schedules and frequently crossing time zones, and poor cabin air quality from a number of sources. Many flight attendants working today were also exposed to high levels of secondhand tobacco smoke before in-flight smoking bans were implemented"


The last sentence cancels out the non smoking status of flight attendants. I am astonished about the low number of the persons in the control group. It would also be interesting how the numbers compare to for example employees in the hotel and restaurant industry.
 
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JetBuddy
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:32 am

I would think that this is because of the radiation they experience flying. Every 2 hours or so is equal to a typical thorax x-ray. At least that's what I've read.

Metal detectors are not the issue.
 
kalvado
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:46 am

LupineChemist wrote:
Isn't there a notably higher radiation exposure at altitude?

Normally small enough to be ignored but at radiation is cumulative, it can definitely add up over a career.

There is, and I believe that should give a much lower increase when using typical assumption - something like 31% lifetime probability instead of 30% for general population for 1000 hours a year.
 
SoCalPilot
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:47 am

Ziyulu wrote:
It's because they go through the metal detectors at airport security at least once every day.


No they don't. Not in the US at least.
 
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SomebodyInTLS
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:51 am

Gasman wrote:
It will be extremely hard to demonstrate conclusively why this happens.

We intuitively tend to blame environmental/toxic factors (radiation/bleed air/that other toxic chemical) and these things may be relevant (although there is actually some evidence to suggest that chronic low dose radiation is *protective* against cancer). However my own guess - and it is only that - is that it's more likely due to lifestyle factors. Flight crew eat a lot of bad food, and may not get much exercise. Constantly changing time zones is downright brutal on the body. How often have you seen a flight crew member aged in their 50's that looks 20 years older?


It's been known for decades... and it's already mentioned on this thread. It's not a surprise at all.

Background radiation at altitude is much higher than on the ground.

I would think that's it, although some of the other things mentioned can be factors as well.
"As with most things related to aircraft design, it's all about the trade-offs and much more nuanced than A.net likes to make out."
 
Kikko19
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:01 pm

too much alcohol as well?
 
kalvado
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:10 pm

Waterbomber wrote:
There are multiple possible causes and I actually tesearched this a fair bit on my own so I think that some will be ontetested to know that the list of hazards for crews is a loooooot longer than you can imagine.
1. Radiation at altitude, as already indicated above
2. You love the smell of burning jet fuel in the morning? Well guess what, the fumes resulting from an incomplete combustion can induce cancer. Crews are exposed to it several times a day when the APU or engines are started or when taxiing at the airport.
When winds are calm, the rubber fumes from preceding aircraft on landing are also bad.
3. Low air pressure is a major factor. Crews are exposed to low air pressure and low oxygen partial pressure for many hours a day and cabin crew have to move around in those conditions. Cells do not get the right amount of O2 and get into cycles of decaying/recovering.
4. Toxic products in the air intake and compression sections. Oil and hydraulic fluid fumes leaking from seals in the compressor section and entering bleed air ducts could be a factor, but this is exagerated as there isn't much of it to be seen in that section. Much worse are the highly poisonous substances used in jointing/sealing compounds for their special properties. Engine bolts and nuts are also dipped into compounds before tightening to prevent seizing under high temperature. Fumes from those compunds can't be good.
5. Ozone/O3 is present in the ait and can't be broken down completely by the compressor's heat and Ozone extractors. This damages airways and could also induce cancer.
6. Distorted sleep patterns can definitely cause cancer
7. Poor nutrition caused by defrosted foods served by airline catering companies and hotels as opposed to a diet of fresh local ingredients
8. The internal aircraft structures are covered with corrosion inhibitors. They are cancer-inducing.
9. Products used in airctaft maintenance tend to stick to internal surfaces. Fumes from isopropyl, acetone, solvents, paints, degreasers, hydraulic fluids, electronic fumes, mercury vapor escaping from broken fluorescent lamps, etc..

Here are some studies
Study of Health Outcomes in Aircraft Maintenance Personnel - CiteSeerX
PDFciteseerx.ist.psu.edu › viewdoc › download

https://www.google.be/amp/www.thejourna ... 7/%3famp=1

Personally, I think that crews do not know what they are getting themselves into.
There is no way of protecting oneself from all these hazards. It's a suicide marathon.
Complaining about it won't resolve the issue, the only thing that I can recommend it is to weigh whether the pay is worth the shorter life expectancy and the agony of going through cancer.
The alternative is life insurance with cancer pay outs.

Low pressure? Are there any reported high cancer rates in Denver and Flagstaff?
 
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enilria
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 12:35 pm

kalvado wrote:
Low pressure? Are there any reported high cancer rates in Denver and Flagstaff?

Forget that, how about Aspen and Quito.
 
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diverdave
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:02 pm

JetBuddy wrote:
I would think that this is because of the radiation they experience flying. Every 2 hours or so is equal to a typical thorax x-ray. At least that's what I've read.


Doesn't the aluminum fuselage (at least in older aircraft) provide some protection?

David
 
OSL777FLYER
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 1:39 pm

Cosmic radiation, I believe it is called, is certainly one of the factors determining the amount of hours that pilots can fly each year. Also, certain corridors, e.g. Trans-Atlantic have more radiation at higher altitudes.

Yes, pilots are more exposed due to being by more windows and not shielded as much as in the cabin.

Does anybody know if there is an hourly limit for cabin crew?
 
sgbroimp
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:18 pm

Studies like this document a "possible association" but not a cause. There are now about thousand plus associations with cancers, but does anyone believe a real cause has been found? Not I...........
 
UpNAWAy
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:23 pm

An interesting comparison to FAs might be one to Hospital Nurses. Another factor has to be just the longevity. These studied had 31 on years in the exact same job doing the exact same thing. The general public has no such work and resulting lifestyle consistency.
 
Planeflyer
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:38 pm

JetBuddy wrote:
I would think that this is because of the radiation they experience flying. Every 2 hours or so is equal to a typical thorax x-ray. At least that's what I've read.

Metal detectors are not the issue.


Does anyone have any hard data on the exposure to radiation at flight altitude?

Are there known carcinogens in bleed air? Again is there data?
 
cschleic
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:45 pm

enilria wrote:
kalvado wrote:
Low pressure? Are there any reported high cancer rates in Denver and Flagstaff?

Forget that, how about Aspen and Quito.


Could a factor be frequent and rapid changes in air pressure rather than the pressure itself?
 
kalvado
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 3:58 pm

cschleic wrote:
enilria wrote:
kalvado wrote:
Low pressure? Are there any reported high cancer rates in Denver and Flagstaff?

Forget that, how about Aspen and Quito.


Could a factor be frequent and rapid changes in air pressure rather than the pressure itself?

Reasons for cancer formation are not fully understood. Radiation is, beyond any doubt, a factor - but only one of many. Other factors are usually observed as differences in groups of similar lifestyle but with some variations in exposure. Which is a messy way of comparing the data - people move, change work, habits etc. Experiments, especially on large groups, are generally impossible
Changes of pressure... I don't see a simple mechanism. However if linear model still applies, regional crews - especially crews in unpressurized props - should have the rates through the roof, while radiation exposure is generally higher on long haul. I don't quite believe that is the case; but regionals are not a career, especially in US - and see above regarding people changing jobs... SO it will be hard to prove.
 
kalvado
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:01 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
JetBuddy wrote:
I would think that this is because of the radiation they experience flying. Every 2 hours or so is equal to a typical thorax x-ray. At least that's what I've read.

Metal detectors are not the issue.


Does anyone have any hard data on the exposure to radiation at flight altitude?

Are there known carcinogens in bleed air? Again is there data?

some summary: https://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/f ... ights.html
Generally 2-3-5 mSv is the normal annual dose for "civilian" population,
100 mSv above natural level, which is on the order of career dose from numbers above, are believed to increase cancer rate from 42.1% to 43.7% (yes, 2 out of 5 people get cancer in their lifetime without exposure to external hazards)
 
2175301
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 4:40 pm

I no longer had the data readily available: But, having worked in the Nuclear Power industry for a long time... I can tell you this:

The Aviation industry in general was granted exemptions from normal radiation worker requirements. They gained that by limiting the hours per year so that no pilot or aircrew would be exposed to more than the maximum normal allowed annual exposure for Radiation Workers (there are higher "once in a lifetime special exposure" that can be approved - and usually result in a lifetime of wages check or payment fund and your nuclear career is over).

Key is that the average population and even the average Nuclear Plant worker never even gets to 20% of the normal maximum radiation dose in any given year. In fact, in my 14 years as a Radiation Worker - A single airline round trip from Chicago to the west cost and back exceeded my Power Plant radiation does for the entire year with the exception of 1 year where I did a particular nasty radiation job.

So Pilots and Aircrew are typically being exposed to at least 5 to 10 times the amount of radiation that a normal nuclear plant worker receives in a year. Virtually every year of their career.

If they were not in the airline industry they would be required to wear radiation badges for flight duty.

Frequent Flyers are in the same situation - and their are studies that say that the highest use frequent flyers are very much exceeding the normal maximum does... There have been request from some that frequent flyers need to be at least trained as a radiation worker so they at least know about the dose levels they are getting. The Airline industry has killed that from ever moving beyond even an initial concept discussion stage.

I'm waiting for the study that says that frequent flyers have higher cancer rates as well.

As for the other factors. Many other industries have people working strange hours, disruptive sleep patterns, and with bad food. Work environment air can easily be worse than what is inside of an aircraft.

Have a great day,
 
WN732
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:21 pm

Here's an interesting article. It also seems to not matter whether you fly during the day time or night. Readings are similar: http://www.environmentalradiation.com/D ... adings.pdf
 
StTim
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 5:31 pm

I would have been extremely surprised if they didn't find a higher incidence of cancer. As stated above there are many well known pointers that they have with their job.
 
WkndWanderer
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:01 pm

Planeflyer wrote:
JetBuddy wrote:
I would think that this is because of the radiation they experience flying. Every 2 hours or so is equal to a typical thorax x-ray. At least that's what I've read.

Metal detectors are not the issue.


Does anyone have any hard data on the exposure to radiation at flight altitude?

Are there known carcinogens in bleed air? Again is there data?


Much of this information is cited or referenced in the study "It should be noted that cabin crew have the largest annual ionizing radiation dose of all U.S. workers (e.g. 3.07 mSv vs. 0.59 mSv for U.S. Department of Energy workers) [5]. These exposures can easily exceed guidelines released by the NCRP or the International Commission on Radiological Protection"
 
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Tugger
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:34 pm

2175301 wrote:
Key is that the average population and even the average Nuclear Plant worker never even gets to 20% of the normal maximum radiation dose in any given year. In fact, in my 14 years as a Radiation Worker - A single airline round trip from Chicago to the west cost and back exceeded my Power Plant radiation does for the entire year with the exception of 1 year where I did a particular nasty radiation job.

So Pilots and Aircrew are typically being exposed to at least 5 to 10 times the amount of radiation that a normal nuclear plant worker receives in a year. Virtually every year of their career.

If they were not in the airline industry they would be required to wear radiation badges for flight duty.

Frequent Flyers are in the same situation - and their are studies that say that the highest use frequent flyers are very much exceeding the normal maximum does... There have been request from some that frequent flyers need to be at least trained as a radiation worker so they at least know about the dose levels they are getting. The Airline industry has killed that from ever moving beyond even an initial concept discussion stage.

I'm waiting for the study that says that frequent flyers have higher cancer rates as well.


Wow, I never realized (or thought of) that. Pretty interesting and thanks for sharing the info.

Tugg
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kalvado
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 6:51 pm

WkndWanderer wrote:
Planeflyer wrote:
JetBuddy wrote:
I would think that this is because of the radiation they experience flying. Every 2 hours or so is equal to a typical thorax x-ray. At least that's what I've read.

Metal detectors are not the issue.


Does anyone have any hard data on the exposure to radiation at flight altitude?

Are there known carcinogens in bleed air? Again is there data?


Much of this information is cited or referenced in the study "It should be noted that cabin crew have the largest annual ionizing radiation dose of all U.S. workers (e.g. 3.07 mSv vs. 0.59 mSv for U.S. Department of Energy workers) [5]. These exposures can easily exceed guidelines released by the NCRP or the International Commission on Radiological Protection"


0.59 mSv is nothing to talk about. That average probably includes all DOE bureaucrats who never saw anything radioactive except on photos and in asset lists. 3mSv doubles annual dose the average person gets from natural sources. And just for reference: living in Denver gives 11 mSv/year due to high elevation and underlying rock effects combined.
 
ckfred
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:16 pm

I wonder if anyone will next study the cancer rates of road warriors, or shall we say those who accumulate 50,000+ miles of air travel each year.

Granted, a road warrior doesn't fly 2 to 4 segments a day, 11 to 14 days a month. But, back when my father a road warrior in the 60s and 70s, he probably averaged 12 flight segments a month, from 1961 to 1974. Think how much dirtier the exhaust was from 707s, 727s, DC-8s, and DC-9s were.
 
787Driver
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:25 pm

Many factors:

Radiation at altitude and the further you go away from the equator and the closer you get to the poles will also increase the radiation

Disturbed sleep cycles

Bad/unhealthy food intake due to the nature of the job

Lack of exercise among many pilots

Drinking coffee every day which is brewed onboard using water from the water tanks which are kept clean using chemicals

Exhaust fumes

Cabin air fumes

And so on...

Why am I still doing this job :-I
 
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ro1960
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:28 pm

The article contains a lot of interesting facts like "we found evidence of a positive association between job tenure as a flight attendant and breast cancer among those with 3 or more children". So yes radiation is a factor but like someone mentioned it it's more complicated than just that. And the study in question is about FAs not pilots. Their jobs and lifestyles are different, so this must also play a part.
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PW100
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 7:50 pm

hiflyeras wrote:
Thirty seven year FA here...diagnosed with prostate cancer last fall. I made sure I completed the Harvard survey!


First of all of course wish you well with your condition.

If every FA and pilot that has some form of cancer makes sure to complete the survey, while others can't be bothered, it may skew results and conclusions . . .
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Planesmart
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 10:28 pm

If you look hard enough at any industry or geographical group, you will find health-related deviations from the statistical norm. Sometimes it's not abnormal, as in ill health.

For example, an acquaintance identified a propensity for females to be conceived in a residential area located near a group of high powered cell phone towers. The children and mothers were healthy - just the gender inconsistency.

BAC, Aerospatiale BA and AF collected data on possible crew and passenger effects of prolonged high altitude / high speed flights, in conjunction with NASA, USAF and RAF.

There is probably a difference between exposure accumulation. For example, ten 18 hour flights are probably worse than forty 4.5 hour flights.
 
smokeybandit
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:11 pm

Everything causes cancer.
 
Prost
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Wed Jun 27, 2018 11:52 pm

OSL777FLYER wrote:
Cosmic radiation, I believe it is called, is certainly one of the factors determining the amount of hours that pilots can fly each year. Also, certain corridors, e.g. Trans-Atlantic have more radiation at higher altitudes.

Yes, pilots are more exposed due to being by more windows and not shielded as much as in the cabin.

Does anybody know if there is an hourly limit for cabin crew?


In the US it is carrier dependent. My carrier does not have a monthly maximum. We have several cabin crew who have averaged over 130 hour months for quite some time.
 
Waterbomber
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Thu Jun 28, 2018 1:01 am

The discussion seems to focus on radiation but I think that air quality and all the fumes and poisonous vapors are a much worse factor.

I know of one guy licking one of the yellow colored compounds used in air intakes as a joke, he started vomiting straight away and had to be taken to hospital. Those can easily end up in cabin air as they are found upstream of the bleed intake.
Solvents used to strip paint or corrosion inbibitors are highly toxic substances used during base maintenance and are virtually impossible to remove completely.
Corrosion inhibitors virtually cover the entire inner structural surface of the aircraft.
You can read the MSDS for Ardrox products, one of the brands, as a reference. Many of these show "may be fatal if enters airways" as warning signs and you van bet that at least trace amounts are constantly in the cabin air.

Low air pressure was questionned above, but it's not so much the low pressure by itself, it's the cycles of high and low pressure.
The same way the airframe gets consumed by it, the body gets too. If you live at high altitude, your body adapts to it and can deal with it. It's the constant change of pressure that is destructive.

I also confirm that chemicals are used to keep water tanks clean. They are basically bleaching products that prevent the development of funghi and bacteria in the water tanks.
In principle, the tanks need to be washed well after using those products, in reality this happens during A checks and time is not sufficient to rinse out the bleach from the closed tanks many times.
Drinking the onboard coffee wont kill you as the bleach will be in low concentration, but it's not healthy for sure. Perhaps the water quality itself and the coffeemaker are also factors to consider. Stick to bottled water.

In my opinion, the jobs are not worth the health hazards. Ignorance is bliss...
 
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c933103
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:37 am

Waterbomber wrote:
3. Low air pressure is a major factor. Crews are exposed to low air pressure and low oxygen partial pressure for many hours a day and cabin crew have to move around in those conditions. Cells do not get the right amount of O2 and get into cycles of decaying/recovering.

I don't think Tibetan people would have high cancer rate.
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dampfnudel
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Thu Jun 28, 2018 4:26 am

Years ago, I never realized how hazardous the flight environment can be to someone who is constantly exposed to radiation and bleed air for many years. I’m curious if this is ever discussed when someone first becomes a FA in the name of transparency? My father was in the merchant marine and for the last 15 years of his career, he sailed on an oil tanker. His blood was often checked for benzene and other carcinogens by the medical clinic that was contracted by his union.
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spacecadet
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Thu Jun 28, 2018 6:25 am

dampfnudel wrote:
I’m curious if this is ever discussed when someone first becomes a FA in the name of transparency?


Not sure, but I'm not sure it should be. It shouldn't be enough to discourage someone from pursuing the career they want to have, if indeed that's what they're doing. Lots of things can kill you, at any job. Office workers, for example, have substantially higher rates of obesity than the general population, and not many people think of office work as particularly dangerous.

There are hidden dangers at almost every job. I guess it would matter if *overall mortality* was higher among f/a's than average, in which case that would be something people should probably be aware of. But even if death rates from a particular cause are higher than at other jobs, I'm not sure that matters if death rates from other causes (say, diabetes) are lower than at other jobs. In general, flight attendant doesn't make the list of even the 15 jobs with the lowest life expectancies: https://www.therichest.com/rich-list/mo ... ectancies/

And there are some other jobs on that list that you really probably wouldn't expect, like farmers, electricians and truckers. And I'm pretty sure nobody warns them that they're statistically likely to die earlier than those in other professions.
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entdoc
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:38 am

has there ever been a time where flight crew wore radiation badges as do XRay techs in hospitals?
has it even ever been studied?
 
Noshow
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Re: Flight attendants have a higher rate of every cancer outcome, study says

Thu Jun 28, 2018 7:38 am

Shouldn't crews and frequent flyers note all those doses they receive over the years? Monitoring equipment could be installed on board and measurements be displayed in the cabin and send to Crew and passenger personal electronic devices for storing them.

Have flights ever diverted due to locally strong cosmic radiation (like after solar flares and such) or selected lower flight levels for protection?

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