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Free Content Flight Attendant Radiation Dose from Solar Particle Events

Anderson JL, Mertens CJ, Grajewski B, Luo L, Tseng C-Y, Cassinelli RT II. Flight attendant radiation dose from solar particle events. Aviat Space Environ Med 2014; 85:828–32.

Introduction: Research has suggested that work as a flight attendant may be related to increased risk for reproductive health effects. Air cabin exposures that may influence reproductive health include radiation dose from galactic cosmic radiation and solar particle events. This paper describes the assessment of radiation dose accrued during solar particle events as part of a reproductive health study of flight attendants. Methods: Solar storm data were obtained from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center list of solar proton events affecting the Earth environment to ascertain storms relevant to the two study periods (1992–1996 and 1999–2001). Radiation dose from exposure to solar energetic particles was estimated using the NAIRAS model in conjunction with galactic cosmic radiation dose calculated using the CARI-6P computer program. Results: Seven solar particle events were determined to have potential for significant radiation exposure, two in the first study period and five in the second study period, and over-lapped with 24,807 flight segments. Absorbed (and effective) flight segment doses averaged 6.5 μGy (18 μSv) and 3.1 μGy (8.3 μSv) for the first and second study periods, respectively. Maximum doses were as high as 440 μGy (1.2 mSv) and 20 flight segments had doses greater than 190 μGy (0.5 mSv). Discussion: During solar particle events, a pregnant flight attendant could potentially exceed the equivalent dose limit to the conceptus of 0.5 mSv in a month recommended by the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

Keywords: absorbed dose; conceptus; effective dose; reproductive health

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Cincinnati, OH, USA

Publication date: August 1, 2014

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