Airline cabin crew face higher risk of cancers

Airline
cabin crew face an increased risk of breast and skin cancers, according to a
new report.

A
survey that compared the skin types and physical make-up of 1,000 pilots and
flight attendants with 2,000 random members of the public found the risk
increased the longer staff worked for airlines.   

The
research, carried out in Iceland, found that those who had been in post for
five or more years before 1971, when travel by jet became the norm, were five
times more likely to develop the disease than those who had been in post for
less time before this date.

Dr
Elizabeth Whelan, of the US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said the
higher risk was due to the average amount of exposure to ionising radiation
increasing over time, as planes fly higher and for longer.

"The
evidence that flight crew are at increased risk of certain types of cancer is
growing, and current concerns about potential hazards in this occupation are
not without basis," she said.

By Michael Millar

Comments are closed.