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Flight Crew & Frequent Flier Radiation Exposure

Flight Crew & Frequent Flier Radiation Exposure

 Flight Crew & Frequent Flier Radiation Exposure is a topic that needs to be reviewed by the public and private sectors. When thinking about radiation exposure the most common image is the one of a health care worker, personnel of a nuclear facility or perhaps people on activities related to mining, particularly uranium. Seldom do we think about exposure to ionizing radiation when flying. Nowadays the most common source of exposure to radiation is manmade.

Since the beginning of time, human beings have been exposed to natural sources of ionizing radiation. Our planet is constantly being exposed to radiation; the atmosphere is constantly bombarded by cosmic rays while on the cortex of the earth there are several radioactive minerals. These along with other sources contribute to background radiation, which is a natural phenomenon. Everyone on the planet absorbs background radiation and the calculated average exposure of a human being is about 1.5 – 2.0 millisieverts/year.[1]

The atmosphere serves a type of shield against cosmic radiation, thus only a fraction of the total amount of the cosmic rays ever reach Earth. When we take a plane and move 30,000 feet over the sea level, we are on a place where the atmosphere is much more thinner and the exposure to cosmic radiation is higher (the shield is thinner). Your typical occasional traveller should have nothing to fear, as the amount of radiation absorbed is minimal. The real question that is being asked by some in the airline industry is in relation to exposure of radiation for frequent fliers and flight crews. Now, we are NOT saying that frequent fliers and flight crews have more of a chance of being diagnosed with cancer or other affects of radiation. What we can say is med-pro.net has many pilots/flight crews that have been using our radiation detection devices to measure the cumulative amounts of radiation.

Men and women working as pilots, flight attendants and other air crew positions spend a lot of time above 10,000 feet, thus the exposure to gamma rays and other ionizing radiation may be higher than usual, in fact it is around 1-10 Ms/year, which means they are half way to the (20 mSv/year)[2] benchmark. The FAA has developed a program called CARI that can be downloaded for free at CARI-6.. According to the website, the CARI-6 calculates the “effective dose of galactic cosmic radiation received by an individual (based on an anthropomorphic phantom) on an aircraft flying the shortest route (a geodesic) between any two airports in the world. The program takes into account changes in altitude and geographic location during the course of a flight, as derived from the flight profile entered by the user”. What the program does not take into consideration is the possibility of solar flares, storms, and radioactive payloads.

Several public studies have been developed to evaluate the health risks of civil aviation crews due to chronic, low dose radiation exposure. Although some results seem to be contradictory, the overall data suggests there may be an increased risk of cancer for this group. If this is the case, there’s still an unanswered question “if there is an increase of cancer, can it be related to radiation exposure?”

Current knowledge about occupational risks of flight crews does not allow us to state that increased radiation exposure is the cause of cancer. There may be other associated risk factors such as exposure to chemicals and a disruption of sleep patterns. We believe further investigation and study is necessary regarding the health of frequent fliers and aircrews. In 1994 the FAA designated pilots and flight attendants as officially being classed as “radiation workers”. As mentioned, flight crews regularly working on high-latitude flights are exposed to more radiation than workers in nuclear power plants. Should airlines require measuring the radiation exposure of their flight crews?

Present regulations do not require personal radiation monitoring for flight crews. However, radiation detection badges (TLD or film badges) might be a useful tool in helping monitor cumulative exposure. We are also advocating that collective longitudinal studies to determine what affects radiation, sleep depravation and other factors that may put flight crews and frequent fliers at risk should be considered.

Next time you need to catch a plane, don’t worry! Your own exposition to radiation coming from the outer space will be only 0,16 mSv for each hour of flight, which means you should absolutely be fine! If you are a frequent flyer or a crew member, perhaps it is time to learn a little bit more about radiation detection and related risks when flying. Email us at sales@med-pro.net if you are considering using a radiation detection badge. To purchase our radiation detection service for only $64.00 a year go to Order Now.

Use this tool produced by Los Alamos National Laboratory to understand your radiation exposure http://environweb.lanl.gov/newnet/info/dosecalc.aspx

[1] http://www.ansto.gov.au/NuclearFacts/AboutNuclearScience/NaturalBackgroundRadiation/index.htm

[2] http://www.clarku.edu/mtafund/prodlib/clark/round6/Ionizing_Radiation.pdf page 113, title 9.

No Hidden Fee’s With Med-Pro, Inc. Radiation Monitoring

What should my practice expect from Med-Pro, Inc?

Change users with no fee
Comprehensive reports available online with your exposure history automatically updated
Badges sent automatically
No account maintenance or set-up fees
Free Control badges with every shipment
Automatic renewal

Med-Pro, Inc. offers personalized X-ray badges and uses state-of-the-art technology with 4 elements to measure exposure at 3 tissue levels and include report from an NVLAP/ISO accredited laboratory.

Expanded Imaging Standards Being Proposed

Joint Commission seeks to expand imaging standards

By Wayne Forrest, AuntMinnie.com staff writer

August 15, 2013 — The U.S. Joint Commission has proposed more-stringent requirements in the ambulatory care, critical access hospital, and hospital accreditation programs for facilities that provide CT, MRI, nuclear medicine, and PET services.

“Research has indicated that the current Joint Commission requirements need to be enhanced to address several significant quality- and safety-related issues associated with diagnostic imaging,” the commission stated in its proposed revisions.

A number of revisions have been suggested. For example, facilities that provide CT, PET, or nuclear medicine services would be required to monitor radiation exposure levels for all staff and licensed independent practitioners who routinely work with those modalities. The commission noted that the precautions are typically addressed with exposure meters, such as personal dosimetry badges.

The facilities would also be required to take “appropriate actions to keep staff radiation exposure levels below regulatory limits.”

Facilities that provide MRI services would need to restrict the access of everyone not screened by staff to an area adjacent to the MRI scanner room entrance, and also ensure that this restricted area is controlled and supervised by MRI-trained staff. In addition, signs must be posted at the entrance to the MRI scanner room that state the magnet is always on.

The newly proposed rules also mandate a shielding integrity survey of rooms where ionizing radiation will be emitted or radioactive materials will be used or stored, such as scanning and injection rooms.

 

How Does Radiation Affect Our Life Expectancy?

How Does Radiation Affect Our Life Expectancy?

How does radiation affect our life expectancy? Are everyday activities negatively impacting your life expectancy? Does flying in an airplane or watching TV expose you adversely and put you at risk? Many are surprised to find out that simple, every day activities can possibly shorten their life expectancy. Cosmic radiation can from flying extended periods of time can possibly have an impact on your health. Deemed safe by most, does ionizing radiation emitted from television and computer screens adversely affect us? Are you at risk? Do you know how much radiation exposure is impacting you?  Will radiation affect your life expectancy?

This is an amazing link that will help put things in perspective.  http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/risk.htm

Pay It Forward

Am proud of two of my children who will be spending most of their Christmas break on the mission field, one going to Mexico and the other headed to the Dominican Republic. Amazed that my children have done so well and are learning the value of “paying it forward”. Med-Pro Inc is also committed to being generous. The values and DNA of our organization require us to be good stewards with what we have been given. During 2013 we are committed to giving our current and future customers great service with extremely competitive pricing on radiation monitoring at med-pro.net. Further, we will give large discounts on  dosimetry service for organizations that serve the poor. We will also be supporting nonprofits that are both local and  global.

So my question for you is this, “what can you do in 2013 to pay it forward”?

As we look at the Christmas season and the start of a New Year, let’s commit to make a difference.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Paul Walker

Pres of Med-Pro, Inc.

 

 


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