Mortality from cancer and other causes among airline cabin attendants in Europe: a collaborative cohort study in eight countries.

Division of Epidemiology and Medical Statistics, School of Public Health, University of Bielefeld, Bielefeld, Germany.
American Journal of Epidemiology (Impact Factor: 5.23). 08/2003; 158(1):35-46.
Source: PubMed


There is concern about the health effects of exposure to cosmic radiation during air travel. To study the potential health effects of this and occupational exposures, the authors investigated mortality patterns among more than 44,000 airline cabin crew members in Europe. A cohort study was performed in eight European countries, yielding approximately 655,000 person-years of follow-up. Observed numbers of deaths were compared with expected numbers based on national mortality rates. Among female cabin crew, overall mortality (standardized mortality ratio (SMR) = 0.80, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.73, 0.88) and all-cancer mortality (SMR = 0.78, 95% CI: 0.66, 0.95) were slightly reduced, while breast cancer mortality was slightly but nonsignificantly increased (SMR = 1.11, 95% CI: 0.82, 1.48). In contrast, overall mortality (SMR = 1.09, 95% CI: 1.00, 1.18) and mortality from skin cancer (for malignant melanoma, SMR = 1.93, 95% CI: 0.70, 4.44) among male cabin crew were somewhat increased. The authors noted excess mortality from aircraft accidents and from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome in males. Among airline cabin crew in Europe, there was no increase in mortality that could be attributed to cosmic radiation or other occupational exposures to any substantial extent. The risk of skin cancer among male crew members requires further attention.

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    • "The largest investigations of aircrew that have been conducted are three European-wide studies [20] [21] [22] that found evidence of a raised risk of malignant melanoma of the skin. A comprehensive review of studies of aircrew confirmed a consistent increase in the risk of melanoma, and also found evidence for a raised risk of non-melanoma skin cancer and female breast cancer [23]. "
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    • "Il n'a pas été mis en évidence d'augmentation de l'ensemble des cancers, ni des cancers des organes les plus radiosensibles chez 44 000 personnes appartenant au personnel navigant des compagnies aériennes (Blettner et al., 2003 ; Zeeb et al., 2003) soumis à une exposition de 1,5 à 6 mSv par an. Seul un excès de mélanomes a été observé, explicable par une exposition plus fréquente au soleil. "
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