Flight attendants who worked an average of 16 weeks during pregnancy had nearly double the rate of spontaneous abortions (miscarriages) as their nonworking counterparts.
J Occup Environ Med 1998;40:210-216.
COMMENT: I take care of a number of flight attendants who are disabled and have not been able to work due to chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. There is clearly something hazardous about flying regularly. I am convinced that for whatever reason flying is not one of the healthiest things to do on a regular basis. If you have to fly regularly in your job and you have the opportunity to switch positions I would encourage you to do that for health reasons. I am sure as time goes on the specific reasons that chronic flying is detrimental to your health will materialize. The simple and easy ones that I can think of are regular disruptions of your sensitive pituitary hypothalamic axis due to shifting time zones. Melatonin levels are clearly affected. Another possibility is exposure to radiation at 35,000 feet that we do not receive at ground level. Lastly there is the issue of breathing recycled air that may be contaminated with air borne infectious agents from some sick passengers.