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The potential safety hazards of air travel - beyond crashes

Do you have a fear of air travel? It is a common concern, and many people nationwide, including here in Georgia have concerns about flying. While it is mostly the fear of a plane crash, air travel poses other dangers to your health and that of other passengers and crew. The most at risk are frequent flyers and flight crews who are predisposed to multiple health hazards that can range from mental and cognitive disorders, hearing and vision damage, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.

The potential risks of air travel include the following:

  • Food-borne illnesses -- Passengers on planes -- especially those who do not often leave their local environments -- may be sensitive to unfamiliar foods and drinks on planes with consequences ranging from mild nausea and malaise to death in the most severe of cases.
  • Deadly viruses -- The biggest threat for this is exposure to a passenger carrying a deadly virus that could cause a pandemic, such as what was the case when polio and measles came to the United States.
  • Traveler's thrombosis -- Also called economy-class syndrome for the fact that the cramped conditions in economy class on a plane prevent leg movement, causing deep vein blood clots. Blood clots can develop in the 30 days following such a flight and could migrate to the lungs or brain with severe consequences.
  • Hearing loss -- Reportedly, the threat of hearing damage is higher if you sit near the location of the engines at the back of the plane. At up to 100 decibels, the noise compares to that of a nightclub. Exposure for four hours or more can cause hearing loss. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health requires ear protection for workers who are exposed to noise levels exceeding 85 to 88 decibels.
  • Radiation from cosmic rays -- The closer you travel to the North Pole, the higher the dose of cosmic rays to which you are exposed. Studies show that breast cancer in flight crew members are higher than in other people and researchers continue their efforts to determine whether cosmic rays may be the cause of increased cancer diagnoses in flight personnel who are regularly exposed.

You may not realize that the condition you suffered after a flight was potentially a result of the airline's negligence, which created an unsafe environment. Whether you were a passenger or part of a flight crew, you might have a valid personal injury claim against the airline if you develop any of the above health issues.

Fortunately, if you are in the Atlanta metro area, you can utilize the skills of an experienced personal injury attorney who can assess the viability of your claim. A lawyer can also assist with determining who to name as the defendants, and establishing negligence before navigating the claim in a civil court.

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