[ RadSafe ] In-Flight Radiation

Robert Barish robbarish at verizon.net
Mon Oct 28 22:39:03 CDT 2013

Ho-hum. I have no idea why this issue is being revived except for the fact that some government employees are making a career out of the latest version of dose prediction software, something that’s been around in various forms for a couple of decades.

Here are some of my papers on the subject, including three in Health Physics:

R.J. Barish. Health Physics Concerns in Commercial Aviation. Health Phys. 59: 199-204 (1990)

R.J. Barish. Health Physics and Aviation: 1990-1994. Health Phys. 69: 538-542 (1995)

R.J. Barish. In-Flight Radiation: Counseling Patients About Risk. J. Am. Board. Fam. Pract. 12: 195-199 (1999)

R.J. Barish. In-Flight Radiation During Pregnancy. Obstet. Gynecol. 103: 1326-1330 (2004)

R.J. Barish. Radiation Risk from Airline Travel. J. Am. Coll. Radiol. 1: 784-785 (2004) 

R.J. Barish. Health Physics and Aviation: Solar Cycle 23 (1996-2008). Health Phys. 96: 456-464 (2009)

R.J. Barish and S. Dilchert. Human Resource Responsibilities: Frequent Flier Radiation Exposure. Employ Respons Rights J. 22: 361-369 (2010)

and there’s also my book:

R.J. Barish. The Invisible Passenger: Radiation Risks for People Who Fly, 2nd Edition, Advanced Medical Publishing (Madison, WI: 2008) ISBN: 1-883526-13-2, ISBN13 978-1-883526-13-2

To be honest, after seeing the European Union require mandatory dose assessment for flight crew in 1990, while the FAA still to this date makes the subject a voluntary educational topic for airline management to either teach or ignore, I’ve given up on any further interest in the topic.

CDC-NIOSH has been performing epidemiological studies on groups of female flight attendants looking for increased mortality from breast cancer and melanoma. Their results on a cohort of more than 11,000 women show “ no evidence of increased breast cancer or melanoma mortality.” Pinkerton LE, Waters MA, Hein MJ, Zivkovich Z, Schubauer-Berigan MK, Grajewski B. Cause-specific mortality among a cohort of U.S. flight attendants.Am J Ind Med. 2012 Jan;55(1):25-36.

So unless one is interested in using these thousands of low-dose (but definitely measurable) exposures of hundreds of thousands of flight crew members to advance the idea that exposures in this range refute the LNT hypothesis, I don’t see much more coming out that will be useful.

Robert Barish, PhD CHP

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