Sure, the job perks of working as airline crew are obvious- free travel, 5-star hotels, shopping around the world.. the list goes on. But recent medical studies show that it comes with a hefty price- and we’re not talking about missing public holidays because of your roster.
According to a report in the New York Times, cabin and flight crew actually have higher risk of getting cancer, because of their disrupted sleep patterns and exposure to increased levels of cosmic ionizing radiation at high altitudes.
A new study in Environmental Health based on 5,366 flight attendants (90% currently flying and the rest former crew) compared their cancer incidence to 2,729 people with similar age, income and education.
What was revealed was shocking- cabin crew had increased rates of breast, uterine, cervical, gastrointestinal, skin and thyroid cancers. In women, the rate of breast cancer was 50% higher, and the rate of non-melanoma skin cancer more than four times higher.
Study co-author, Irina Mordukhovich, who is a research associate at Harvard, said: “Flight crews have a unique mix of exposures, including disrupted circadian rhythms and exposure to possibly carcinogenic contaminants — insecticides, flame retardants, jet fuel. And ionizing radiation levels, although low, can be cumulative over time.”
Still want to fly the friendly skies?