What Airlines Will Never Explain To You About Cosmic Radiation

What is Cosmic Radiation and do you know its effect on you as a cabin crew?

Cosmic radiation are showers of high energy particles, including X-rays, that constantly hit the earth and are mainly produced by exploding stars and black holes.

At ground level this normally isn’t a problem for you, but when you fly, you travel at altitudes where the atmosphere is thinner, leaving you more exposed to these cosmic rays.


Three Factors That Affect The Amount Of Exposure To Cosmic Radiation:



The higher we go, the greater the dose


The closer we get to the poles, the greater the dose.


The longer we stay in air, the greater the dose


For example, a flight from Chicago to Beijing over the polar cap is estimated to give you the same dose of radiation as two chest X-rays!


Health Risks

Pilots, cabin crew and astronauts are at more risk of higher doses because of the increased and more frequent exposure to cosmic rays at high altitude.

So what’s the scoop? What does this mean for your health and what is the big reason why you should care?



Well, cumulative doses of radiation can cause enough damage to cells to affect and harm their biological function and DNA. What do damaged cells often turn in to? Cancer cells.

The true health risks have been hard to demonstrate, as the cancers which Cosmic Radiation seems to be linked to are the cancers which can take up to 30 years to manifest. (Like those of the thyroid, breast, and prostate.) Just because the health risks have been hard to demonstrate, doesn’t mean they aren’t real.


Premature Aging & Memory Loss

Frequent exposure to these harmful rays can damage your skin making you look older that your real age.

Getting exposed to radiation and having less oxygen inside the plane gives you the perfect recipe for memory loss. Now you know why you’re always forgetful.  😥

Can Cosmic Radiation Affect Airplane Passengers And Crew?


Don’t let Cosmic Radiation scare you, but definitely have a proactive and preventative approach by taking care of your body.

The best way to do this is to limit the number of trips that fly near the North Pole in a month.

Take care of yourself so that you can enjoy your amazing career and all that it offers – without the long term side effects!


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[Featured photo by Carolina]

Kaeli Bauman - I Heart Cabin Crew Author About the author: Kaeli Bauman is a flight attendant for a major Canadian airline turned Holistic Nutritionist. Frustrated by the challenges of staying healthy while on the road, she is on a mission to find and offer solutions for cabin crew. She believes that you shouldn't have to compromise health and fitness for this amazing job.

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17 thoughts on “What Airlines Will Never Explain To You About Cosmic Radiation

  1. Ahmet Öz

    Mine is 2761 microsieverts for this year, my company lets us know it, they publish the values every month, we had lessons about it, also advices about health, sport, what to eat and such things