Few of us consider the effects of COSMIC RADIATION FROM FREQUENT FLYING and the simple steps that may help to reduce our exposure.
Cosmic radiation is a particular problem for those who fly regularly. I would also suggest that women who are pregnant and flying internationally (particularly if flying regularly) take note of the tips below.
Cosmic radiation is the radiation found naturally in our cosmos, created by the sun as microwaves, gamma rays and a vast array of particles.1 Our atmosphere provides an effective radiation shield but at aircraft-cruising heights the ambient dose rate from cosmic sources is between 50–100 times the dose found at ground level.
“It is surprising how few members of the public are aware of this cosmic radiation,” commented Dr Michael Clarke of the National Radiological Protection Board.2
Each international flight exposes you and your baby to the same amount of radiation as if you’d had a full body X-ray or two chest X-rays.3 On international flights, aeroplanes fly at above 10,000 metres.4 You are exposed to slightly less radiation with domestic flights, as these planes fly at lower altitudes, but cosmic radiation levels are known to fluctuate.
Recent and sudden large solar storms with associated flares and coronal holes have stimulated more concern over cosmic radiation exposure.5
Studies have been issued on aircrew who, with the exception of astronauts, receive the highest level of radiation exposure. The Journal of Occupational Environmental Medicine published three papers discussing the incidence of cancer among pilots and cabin crew. The increased incidence of malignant melanomas and the risk of breast cancer were noted.6
Official figures from the National Radiological Protection Board (NRPB)7 show an increased risk of acute myeloid leukaemia and also an increased incidence of skin cancer. Another US study8 on biological dosimetry examined whether persistent chromosome aberrations could be linked to cosmic radiation exposure, with conclusions stating that further investigation was warranted. As the author commented, there is a need to obtain as much information as possible about exposure and the potential contributing factors before firm conclusions can be drawn.
Pilots analysed were estimated to to have flown about 5000 hours and researchers estimated the crew receive up to 9 mSv (units of radiation exposure) a year. A frequent flyer travelling about 100 hours a year would receive, in addition to man-made radiation, 0.4 mSv from cosmic radiation.9 As a comparison, a chest X-ray is estimated at 0.02 mSv.10
These statistics help us to appreciate the seriousness of cosmic radiation, even with single international and domestic flights, particularly during your first trimester. Many doctors and IVF clinics give explicit advice to not fly during your first 12 weeks, as the effects of radiation exposure and possible links with miscarriage, while not definitive, are best avoided.
How To Help Minimise Cosmic Radiation Exposure
The following tips are suggestions gathered from various literature and unfortunately their effectiveness has not been tested to date, however every little step we can take to minimise exposure to radiation is worth considering…
1) If you are planning to fly internationally you can log on to the Space Environment Centre for an update on solar flares (www.sec.noaa.gov).
2) There are homeopathic preparations that can offer some protection when flying. These have been shown to be safe to take during pregnancy so ask your homeopath to prepare a remedy for you. Please contact me if you need specifics on this remedy, otherwise Health World Limited in Eagle Farm Qld have a pre-prepared remedy.
3) Sit in the middle of the plane rather than near a window in an attempt to reduce radiation
4) Some literature suggests that you can cover your lower abdomen with bags of Epsom Salts during the flight.11
5) Enjoy the Detox bath outlined below
DETOX BATH FOR RADIATION
Pregnant or not – DO YOU FLY REGULARLY?
Some authors suggest that apple cider vinegar
baths help restore the body’s natural pH and
may help combat radiation exposure.
- Before bathing, drink a hot tea and brush the skin to open the pores.
- Add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar to a warm bath, and soak 15-30 minutes.100
- When finished, take a warm scrubbing shower.
- Finish the process with a cool shower. (The cooler the water, the more energy you stimulate back into the body).
For more information about Pregnancy, Birth & Beyond,
please refer to Well Adjusted Babies — which includes
Dr Jennifer’s well-researched, easy-to-read information about…
| Improving Fertility
Self-Care During Pregnancy
Meeting Your Physical/Emotional Needs
Techniques to Ease the Pain of Labour
How to Have a Safe, Natural Birth
Breastfeeding, Formulas and Colic
First Foods for Babies
| Tips for partners and birth teams
Minimising Harmful Toxins
Alternatives to Pharmaceutical Drugs
The Benefits of Chiropractic
How to Guide Your Child’s Development
Wholesome dietary habits for the Family
And MUCH More…
Take a look at Well Adjusted Babies here.
(1-2) Clark M Dr. (1999). Flying Boosts Radiation Dose [BBC Homepage]. [Online]. Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/557340.stm .
(3) Bethesda MD. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. Cited in: Clark M Dr. (1999). Flying Boosts Radiation Dose [BBC Homepage]. [Online]. Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/557340.stm .
(4) Naish F. Roberts J. The Natural Way to Better Babies. Australia: Random House; 2000.
(5) Clark M Dr. (1999). Flying Boosts Radiation Dose [BBC Homepage]. [Online]. Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/557340.stm .
(6) Whelan EA. Cancer incidence in airline cabin crew. J Occup Enviro Med. 2003;60(11):805-806.
(7) Bethesda MD. National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements. Cited in: Clark M Dr. (1999). Flying Boosts Radiation Dose [BBC Homepage]. [Online]. Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/557340.stm .
(8) Zeeb H. Blettner M. Langner I. Mortality from cancer and other causes among airline cabin attendants in Europe; a collaborative cohort study in eight countries. Am J Epidem. 2003;158(1):35-46.
(9) Belen SL. Detox and Revitalize. Danbury; Vital Health Publishing: 2005.
(10) Gadher D. Pilots fly low to curb radiation. The Sunday Times: November 9; 2003.
(11) Clark M Dr. (1999). Flying Boosts Radiation Dose [BBC Homepage]. [Online]. Available: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/557340.stm .