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No radiation risk to air passengers

22 February 2012 09:11

Cancer Research UK said airline passengers do not face any additional risk from cosmic radiation

Cancer Research UK said airline passengers do not face any additional risk from cosmic radiation

Travellers who fly regularly do not have an increased risk of developing cancer, leading experts have said.

Airline passengers are sometimes thought to be more exposed to cosmic radiation, which reaches the earth from space and can damage DNA.

The earth's atmosphere shields us from the majority of this radiation, but it becomes thinner high above the earth's surface, suggesting that passengers in an aeroplane could be more exposed than those on the ground.

But Cancer Research UK has confirmed that flying on a commercial airline is a safe way to travel, with no increased risk from radiation.

The charity said airline passengers are no more at risk from cancer than anyone else, as they only receive a very small amount of radiation.

Those who have been diagnosed with cancer may be concerned about the difficulties of finding travel insurance with medical conditions, but a range of specialist policies are available to provide suitable cover.

Theoretically, no level of radiation can be considered to be completely safe, according to Cancer Research UK.

However, the low levels of radiation experienced by airline passengers are very unlikely to seriously affect cancer risk even among frequent flyers, the group added.

While the risk from cosmic radiation may be low, specialist policies such as breast cancer travel insurance can help provide peace of mind for passengers who have previously been diagnosed with the illness.