Published on Feb 21, 2014
FAQ: Effect of Fukushima radiation on flying in commercial airliners
Radchick: Fukushima triggers unprecedented increase in airline pilot & passenger heart attacks, cancers, radiation illness symptoms
1. RADIATION IN FLIGHT
Radchick: During normal solar activity, radiation levels at 10-11 kilometers cruise altitude are about 2-3 uSv/h, which is 20 to 30 times the radiation you’re exposed to on the ground (prior to Fukushima). Thus, you get about the same dose as from 1-2 chest x-rays if you fly for 11 hours (but distributed to all of your body – not just the chest, of course).
Waters M, Bloom TF, Grajewski B. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health/Federal Aviation Administration (NIOSH/FAA) working women’s health study: Evaluation of the cosmic-radiation exposures of flight attendants. Health Phys 79(5): 553–559; 2000. <——Notice year of study
Radiation dose levels represent a complex function of duration of flight, latitude, and altitude.
Based on data collected for this study, radiation dose levels that would be experienced by a flight crew are well below current occupational limits recommended by the ICRP and the FAA of 20,000 uSv y-1.
The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) recommends a monthly equivalent dose limit of 500 uSv. The ICRP recommends the radiation limit during pregnancy be 1000 uSv.
Only flight crews flying both a large number of hours during pregnancy (for example, 100 hours in a month) and strictly the highest dose-rate routes (typically global routes such as United States to Buenos Aires or United States to Tokyo) would exceed the NCRP monthly guideline.
2. RADCHICK: MY PERSONAL RADIATION IN FLIGHT EXPERIENCE
Radchick: On my flight to Cancun, we were exposed to 900-1400 cpms for 2 hours. While ascending and landing rad levels dropped considerably, it was at the cloudline before they resume ‘normal’ ranges of 200 cpms. The majority of the journey, from Charlotte to Cancun leg was 4 hours long. Using the uSv to cpm conversion (which is being highly debated right now in radiation measurement circles) our total exposure on just one leg of our journey was approximately (of course this is dependent on the model of Geiger and type of radiation — In my case I was using an Inspector reading cpm and a Soeks uSv) 108,000 counts in just 2 hours. Overall a 4 hr. flight was approximately 200,000 total counts over 4 hrs. or 50,000 counts per hour 833 cpm rough average. And that is using the lower range to estimate of 900. Assuming a conversion factor of 100 cpm per uSv, my exposure was approximately 8.33 uSv.
Just this flight would expose an airline worker to 1/10 of their yearly exposure limits. ASSUMING as all flights encounter this level of rads within 10 4-hour flights a person would reach guidelines for airline industry workers of 20 uSv/year. That’s only 40 hours of flying!! Flight attendants fly an average of 80 hours a month. Pilots 75-85 hrs. per month. Within 2 weeks they would have reached their exposure guidelines. NO WONDER the pilots are dropping dead. I would also like to remind you I went into kidney failure within hours of landing, and my 28 y/o daughter was hospitalized for kidney failure 2 weeks after we returned from our trip. A number of students on the trip as well suffered from skin problems, swollen eyes and other ailments during and after. I also observed that 2 out of 4 stewardesses on this particular flight had some major skin problems, possibly eczema? on their face. It was severe enough that I was surprised they were working/not on sick leave.
FYI: Comparisons with X-rays and CT scans “meaningless” — Inhaling particles increases radiation exposure by “a factor of a trillion” says expert
3. OTHER INFLIGHT READINGS (3)
A. Connie Fogal, Former Vancouver, BC Parks Board Commissioner:
Date of flight: 1/11/2014 Average Alt. 35,000 feet Air Canada
Vancouver, BC (YVR) –Heathrow UK (LHR)
Average Geiger counter reading 2.45 uSv/hour
Date of flight: 1/19/2014 Average Alt. 35,000 feet Air Canada
Heathrow UK (LHR) – Vancouver, BC (YVR)
Average Geiger counter reading range:
2.89 – 3.60 uSv/hr.
B. Tom Clearwater, Lawyer, Vancouver, BC:
Readings On Flight From Vancouver, BC To Hong Kong
Date/Vancouver time/altitude in feet/reading in micro Sieverts per hour uSv [locational data]
16/11/Vancouver (home) 0.06 uSv
16/13/airport (departure) 0.04-0.08
16/13:30/plane (ground) 0.04-0.06
16/15:30/32k 1.70-2.09 (held above my fish dinner)
16/17:30/32k 2.10-2.20 [W of Alaska] uSv
16/19:11/32k 1.53-1.91 [E of Kamchatka]
16/19:50/32k 1.76-1.95 [S of Kamchatka]
16/21:45/32k/1.31-1.53 [just SE of Sapporo Japan]
16/22:00/32k/1.42-1.53 [NE of Sendai
16/22:15/32k/1.20-1.46 [just NE of Sendai]
16/22:30/32k/1.27-1.46 [just N of Sendai, over land]
16/22:45/32k/0.98-1.30 [just S of Niigata]
17/1:11/32k/1.35-1.53 [E of Shanghai]
17/2:45/28k/1.02-1.07 [descent for Hong Kong]
We flew almost directly over Fukushima.
On Flight From Hong Kong To Johannesburg
I also checked rad levels on our flight from Hong Kong (HK) to Johannesburg. Flying time was night until we reached J. Levels were consistently 50% of those on our day flight to Hong Kong, so 0.1 uSv thereabouts until the sun started rising, then levels equaled to-HK levels. I interpret this data to suggest that sun exposure was the main determining factor apart from altitude. Under this interpretation, there is no or negligible Fukushima rad in the air.
Also notice that to HK levels slowly dropped as sun exposure faded.
C. Chile to Portland, OR Flight (Reported by Rense.com) http://bit.ly/1faGQkQ
Date of Flight: July 1, 2013
Chile, South America – Portland, OR (USA)
Geiger counter readings (CPM)
Chile 366 CPM
Equator 614 CPM
Oregon 1208 CPM
1208 CPM is about the same as 20Bq.
NOTE: Assuming a conversion factor of 100 cpm per uSv, the exposure level over Oregon was approximately 12.08 uSv.
PILOT’S BLOG – MAPPING RADIATION LEVELS
Radchick: From a pilot’s blog who is mapping rad levels, excellent info:
“So, finally, with all the flying I’ve done lately, I’d like to say that I’m getting a very firm grasp on where the radiation is and what you can do about it. What I’ve discovered, to date, can be summarized like this:
Aircrew get more radiation than nuclear power plant workers.
Aircrew are classified as radiological workers by the NCRP (National Center for Radiation Protection)
On average, north of 35 degrees north-latitude, radiation increases rapidly above about 35,000′. Pilots who do not need to go higher than that, operationally, might as well stay at a lower altitude if they want to avoid high radiation levels.
Altitude has little affect on the radiation level when flying at latitudes south of about 30 degrees north. I’ve seen almost zero variation between 35,000′ and 45,000′ when flying from 30 degrees all the way down to the equator.
Flying over the North pole is the most hazardous of all. Radiation levels will normally be 12-18 micro-Seiverts per hour, at 40,000′. From 31,000′ upwards, the radiation level will double about every 6500′. Pilots need to check on solar flare activity because, sometimes, levels can exceed 100 uSv/hr.
An affordable dosimeter, that accurately measures all of the different types of radiation at flight altitude, does not seem to be readily available. There is 3x more up there than just Gamma. I think the other main components are radioactive electrons, protons and X-Rays.
“Currently, the best prediction center, I’ve found, for flight radiation, is the NAIRAS website.
“Above excerpt from: http://jetradjamesblog.wordpress.com/