Sep 2018

The Cancer Risks Faced by Rhode Island Flight Attendants

Massachusetts workers' compensation attorneyThe job of a flight attendant comes with many obvious health challenges. Among them are:

  • Fatigue caused by night hours, unusual work shifts, jet lag and working across time zones
  • The poor air quality common in airplane cabins
  • Exposure to great numbers of the public who may be carrying germs and disease with them as they travel

Now, add to that list a greater risk of developing several types of cancer.

The Staggering Results From A Recent Study

A recent study by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health revealed that flight attendants had “a higher prevalence of every cancer that was examined,” including breast cancer, melanoma, and non-melanoma skin cancer. For the study, researchers surveyed 5,366 flight attendants in the United States, then compared the prevalence of cancer with a study involving about 5,000 U.S. residents in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

“Our findings of higher rates of several cancers among flight attendants is striking given the low rates of overweight and smoking in our study population, which highlights the question of what can be done to minimize the adverse exposures and cancers common among cabin crew,” the authors said in their study report.

Researchers recommended organizing the work schedules of flight attendants to limit the disruption of circadian rhythms and diminishing their exposure to cosmic ionizing radiation and called for additional study. They also noted that flight attendants can be exposed to chemical contaminants on airplanes, such as pesticides that are sometimes required to prevent the spread of disease between flight destinations.

“The (European Union) already evaluates radiation exposure among flight attendants, which our findings show may be an important step toward lowering cancer risk among this work population,” Eileen McNeely, co-director of Harvard’s Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise Program at the Center for Health and the Global Environment, said in the press release.

If you’re a flight attendant who has been stricken with cancer, or anyone battling a work-related disease in Rhode Island or Southeastern Massachusetts, your life has been turned upside down by your situation. In addition to the physical, mental and emotional challenges, you may be trying to navigate the complicated legal world of workers’ compensation. The last thing you need in your life right now is more stress.

The workers’ compensation lawyers at the Law Offices of Deborah G. Kohl have experience handling cases just like yours, whether you are in Providence, Fall River or Foxborough. We will aggressively fight for your rights with both professionalism and compassion while you focus on what is most important – your health. We offer free case consultations while working on a contingency basis, meaning you pay nothing unless we win your case.

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