Thursday, February 18, 2016

How To Survive Flying

February 17, 2016

Nearly everyone is a little nervous when the airliner we are flying in charges down the runway or comes in for a less than perfect landing or has turbulence,  but statistics tell us that the chances of dying in an air disaster are extremely low.

However, for frequent flyers especially, there are some more common and insidious risks. has previously written about blood clots caused by sitting in cramped conditions at high altitude on long or frequent flights, that is aggravated by airlines shrinking seat sizes.  

Another health concern for frequent flyers particularly is radiation.  All radiation is known to cumulatively increase one's risk of cancer.

At higher altitudes, occupants are exposed to more cosmic rays, a high energy radiation that is largely absorbed by the atmosphere.  So one cross country round trip, it turns out is equivalent radiation exposure to a chest x-ray.   Back scatter x-rays used by TSA at airports has also had some experts concerned. 
So what can be done to counteract this?  Surprisingly the answer may be diet. 
Research funded by the National Cancer Institute, studied what foods might protect pilots who receive far more frequent radiation exposure than others.  
The findings: pilots who ate the most dietary antioxidants suffered the least amount of DNA damage.  However, not by taking supplements, which actually increased damage.
Those consuming a mix of fruits and vegetables such as citrus, nuts, seeds, pumpkins, and peppers did best.  Also green leafy veggies like spinach, ginger root were found to protect against radiation.
Similar results were found in studies of other population groups exposed to high amounts of radiation including survivors of the atomic bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the nuclear accident at Chernobyl,  hospital x-ray workers, and in Pentagon Cold War experiments.
The radiation protective foods may include herbs garlic, turmeric, goji berries,
mint leaves, oregano and especially tea from Lemon balm.
So when taking those frequent long distance trips,  take some kale chips and wash it down with lemon balm tea; then dine on a green veggie salad with herb dressing with fruit for dessert!
Paul Hudson

See Limaye MR, Severence H. Pandora's Boxes: questions unleased in airport scanner debate. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2011; 111(2):87-8, 119. 
Yong LC, et al, High Dietary antioxidants intakes are associated with decreased chromosome translocation frequency in airline pilots. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009; 90(5):1402-10.
Friedberg W et al, Radiation exposure during air travel: Guidance provided by the FAA for air carrier crews. Health Phys. 2000; 79(5):591-5.
Sauvaget  C et al. Dietary factors and cancer mortality among atomic bomb survivers. Mutat Res. 2004:551(1-2):145-52.
Kordysh EA et al. Dietary and clastogenic factors in children...contaminated by Chernobyl accident. Arch Environ Health. 2001; 56(4):320-6.
Arora R, et al, Radioprotection by plant products, Phytother Res. 2005:19(1):1-22.
See Gen. Greger, Michael with Gene Stone, How Not To Die, Flatiron Books, 2015, p. 241-3

Seat Size Amendment Proposed, Then Shot Down 

The below video clip and press release shows last week's debate on a bill to regulate seat size that was voted down by the House Transportation Committee.

It was a close vote, with both Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member DeFazio in opposition. 
However, even though Rep. Defazio spoke against the seat-space bill, he later voted for it, together with all the other committee Democrats and one Republican.

This is the first FlyersRights passenger rights proposal to be introduced thus far. 

Take a look at the Congressional voting list below to know who is against even the most mild effort the rein in airlines' aggressive shrinkage of passenger space.  

February 11, 2016
Congressman Cohen Disappointed By Vote Against Safety of Airline Passengers 
[WASHINGTON, DC] - Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's Subcommittee on Aviation, today offered his Seat Egress in Air Travel (SEAT) Act (H.R. 4490) as an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Reauthorization bill at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meeting. The amendment, which would have required the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish a minimum seat size and minimum distance between rows of seats for the safety and health of passengers, was defeated by a vote of 26-33.
"I am disappointed," said Congressman Cohen. "This was a vote against the safety and health of airline passengers. The FAA requires that planes be capable of rapid evacuation in case of emergency, yet they haven't conducted emergency evacuation tests on all of today's smaller seats. That's unacceptable.  It's time for the FAA to take action. I will continue to work with my colleagues to make sure the safety and health of passengers comes before airline profits, and hope to have the opportunity to offer this amendment again when the bill comes to the floor of the House."

A video debate on Rep. Cohen's amendment at the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Congressman Cohen played a clip during his remarks of a television commercial that aired during last week's Super Bowl broadcast to demonstrate the issue of small seat sizes.
Rep. Cohen played a clip during his remarks of a television commercial that aired during last week's Super Bowl broadcast to demonstrate the issue of small seat sizes.
Get to know these members better - check out their webpage: 

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