The Risk of Melanoma in Pilots and Cabin Crew: UV Measurements in Flying Airplanes | Dermatology | JAMA Dermatology | JAMA Network
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Research Letter
April 2015

The Risk of Melanoma in Pilots and Cabin Crew: UV Measurements in Flying Airplanes

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Dermatology, Mount Zion Cancer Research Center, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Department of Medical Sciences, University of Turin, Turin, Italy
JAMA Dermatol. 2015;151(4):450-452. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2014.4643

Recently, a meta-analysis reported an increased incidence of melanoma in pilots and cabin crew, which was possibly due to occupational exposures.1 Cabin crews’ exposure to cosmic radiation was assessed in different studies and always found below the allowed dose limit.2 However, the cumulative exposure of pilots and cabin crew to UV radiation, a known risk factor for melanoma, has not been assessed to our knowledge.

Airplane windshields are commonly made of polycarbonate plastic or multilayer composite glass. UV-B (280-320 nm) transmission through both plastic and glass windshields was reported to be less than 1%. However, UV-A (320-380 nm) transmission ranged from 0.41% to 53.5%, with plastic attenuating more UV radiation than glass.3

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