While traveling via an airplane you are exposed to high amounts of radiation. It begins with security and does not end there.
While up in the air not only are you exposed to EMF radiation but natural radiation from the sun and comic-rays.
I am going to talk about going through security, the radiation you are exposed to there and then discuss the radiation from the airplane, both that occurs naturally, and from the manmade electromagnetic radiation.
Lastly, I will go over some of my top tips for lowering your radiation exposure while flying, whether you have Electromagnetic hypersensitivity or just looking for some extra protection for your next trip!
A sensitive subject for many, we will also be looking into the potential dangers of flying while pregnant. Could all that radiation exposure lead to higher chance or miscarriage? Let’s dive in and learn more about Airplane radiation.
X-RAY Full Body Scanner Radiation
I want to start by talking a bit about the subject of X-Ray and The Full Body Scanners. This is often the main concern when it comes to potential radiation exposure while traveling.
Everyone knows you must go through security in order to participate in airway traveling. We are told we are required to go through either an X-Ray or Full Body Scanning machine for our “safety” but that is not actually true.
Going through X-Rays or a Full Body Scanner is unnecessary radiation exposure and there are other options such as opting out. I will explain more on this below (Add link here)
Radiation exposure from x-ray and the full body scan is not something to be taken lightly but that is often all people think about while they are traveling when really they should be more concerned with the amount of radiation they are exposed to while up in the air.
There are two main kinds of radiation you are exposed to while flying naturally occurring radiation and radiation from EMFs. Let unpack these two kinds of radiation a bit more.
Flyers Exposure to Naturally Occurring Radiation
The higher you are in altitude, the higher the dose of radiation you are exposed to. The reason for this is a result of less shielding of cosmic radiation by the atmosphere at higher altitudes.
Here is a bit more detailed explanation. The higher you are in altitude the thinner the air becomes. The more distance you have from the Earth’s surface, there becomes fewer gas molecules per volume of space.
With the thinner air and the fewer molecules, there is less ability to deflect the incoming radiation from space.
You can see this in a more extreme when we look into astronauts and actual space travel. They are exposed to much more radiation and are at a higher risk for cancer, heart ailments, and cataracts the longer they are in space.
You may have heard of some people’s dream to make Mars a planet where humans could live but in-fact the atmosphere is too thin and would thus expose any human to far too much radiation. This is actually one of Elon Musks biggest challenges in his goal to inhabit Mars.
Solar flares are another naturally occurring radiation source that we should keep in mind. They are less consistent and are unpredictable but they are still a danger.
Occasionally the sun releases a sudden burst of energy which is described as a solar flare. Thes flares do occur monthly, if you are a frequent flyer you may experience one of these which will increase your radiation exposure.
Flyers Beware of the EMF Radiation Exposure in Airplanes
Not only are you exposed to more naturally occurring radiation while flying but you are also exposed to EMF radiation.
Did you know electrical engineers are able to change the voltage on a plane to make them even higher?
The higher the voltage the stronger the electric field so more EMFs are able to enter your body.
Here are some of the sources for EMF Radiation you are exposed to while flying:
- Electrical wiring and sensors
- Cockpit Computers
- Jet Engine
- Static electricity in the fuselage
- Bluetooth from passengers devices
- Communication equipment
- In-Flight Wifi
In-Flight Wifi, The Second Hand Smoking of the Sky
In-flight Wifi is very convenient especially for those who are hoping to get some work done while traveling. However, the use of wifi inside an airplane is actually far worse for you than just using the wifi on your home or office.
As mentioned before the metal exterior of the airplane makes it so the EMFs are blocked inside and have no way of exiting the plane. This is exposing you to higher amounts of EMF radiation.
If the person Next to you happens to be using the airplane wifi you exposure will go up even more. It is like the second hand smoke of EMF radiation.
The list above doesn’t even cover all the ways you are exposed to EMF radiation while flying. One of the main concerns with all the EMFs is that you are basically in a big metal box with no way for the EMFs to escape.
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity and Airplane Travel
If you have read much into EMFS and Radiation exposure you are aware that one of the best ways to block EMFs is with metal.
When you are flying all the radiation is being trapped within the metal walls of the airplane which then magnifies the effects of RF radiation.
All these EMF radiation exposures is not good news, especially if you are someone who has EHS (Electromagnetic hypersensitivity).
Many people with EHS have an extremely hard time flying in airplanes because they are exposed to such a large amount of EMFs. They are left with many symptoms like headaches, fatigue, and nausea to name a few.
If you have EHS and struggle with flying check out some ideas for helping to lower your EMF exposure below! I am hoping this article will also help educate you why your symptoms flair up while traveling via airplane.
Is the Amount of Radiation Exposure from Air-travel Safe While Pregnant?
Exposure to radiation is not good for you and increases chances of cancer as well as may have other potential health risks. People are advised to be even more cautious while pregnant which leaves many wondering if it is safe to travel in airplanes while pregnant.
Pregnancy Loss From Radiation Exposure
Pregnancy and losses is a very sensitive subject for many and when it comes to airplane travel people are concerned. There are some who believe that there is a connection between overexposure of radiation is linked to miscarriage.
Studies are being conducted to see if there is a connection between radiant exposure while flying and pregnancy loss. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health released a study in 2015 where they looked into flight attendants to see if there was a connection between their job and a higher miscarriage rate.
This is the first to date study that analyzed reproductive hazards due to workplace specifically on flight attendants.
In addition to studying 840 pregnancies among 673 female flight attendants, they also studied records of 2 million flights that were flown by these women.
Other factors besides just the exposure to cosmic and solar radiation were also studies such as physical demands and circadian disruption.
They did find that women who flew more than 25 hours during their normal sleep hours were at an increased risk for miscarriage in the first trimester.
Let’s talk about what they found when it comes to radiation exposure an pregnancy loss. Researchers found that although less common, during a solar particle event radiation dose reached 0.45 mGy on a single flight. This is highly concerning as studies have shown that exposure to 0.1mGy or more is likely associated with increased risk of miscarriage.
What does this mean? For a casual pregnant flyer, this is still concerning but if you are someone who is frequently flying you may want to reconsider.
Those who fly often like pilates, flight attendants, or those who use flights to commute there is a good chance you are being exposed to more radiation than the recommended amount (which is higher than many think is safe especially while pregnant).
Airplane Radiation vs. X-Ray Radiation
We went over the X-ray and full body scanner radiation and the airplane radiation, but maybe you are still wondering, which one is worse? There is not really a cut and dry answer for this one as there are many factors to consider.
How long is the flight? How high is the flights altitude? Do you happen to be encounter a solar flare?
We can say that on average a seven-hour airplane trip will expose its passengers to 0.02 mSv of radiation. If you look at the exposure to say a chest X-Ray which is much higher at 0.1 mSv you can say that radiation from flying is less than an X-ray machine.
However, these numbers are not including the amount of EMF exposure you encounter while on said seven-hour airplane ride. For instance, while you are waiting for the plane to take off and most passengers are on their phones you are exposed to the very high amount of EMF radiation.
During the time the plane is taxing (whether to take off or from landing) your exposure levels are anywhere between 3 and 6 mSv , that is way higher than the amount you are exposed to while getting a chest X-Ray.
According to Doctors Smith-Bindman and Mehta’s, the radiation from an airport scan is less than 1% of the radiation exposure a person on average would receive during a six-hour flight.
I am with them here, although options like opting out are great, airplane radiation is far more dangerous than the amount we get from the scans.
One more thing to keep in mind, studies have shown that you are actually exposed to more radiation waiting to get scanned than the actual scan at security in airports. This leaves me to believe we may be fearing the wrong radiation exposure here.
Safety Tips for Lower Radiation Traveling
If trying to fly less is not an option for you how can you lower your radiation exposure while traveling? Here are my top solutions for lowering your radiation exposure while traveling.
Opting out simply means that you are opting out of going through an X-Ray or Full Body Scanning Machine. This is fully legal and not as uncommon as you might think.
Step by Step Guide for Opting Out:
- After you have shown your ticket and ID to the TSA Agent let the next agent you see know that you would like to Opt-out. (The agents who scan your ticket and check your ID are not the ones to inform)
- They may ask you for your reasoning however, most of the time will not. Ke kind and courteous while you ask, they are taking extra time out of their busy schedule for you.
- Allow an extra 15-20 minutes if you are opting out. I have noticed most of the time it doesn’t take much longer at all but they need to find an agent of you same sex for the pat down and if they are extremely busy this can take a little extra time.
- You will need to put your bags and personal items through the x-ray machine still. If you are traveling alone they will set them aside for you or if you are traveling with others just ask them to grab your belonging.
- You may also request to have your pat-down in a private room or your personal screening in public which can save on time.
- The agent will let you know what they are about to do before each action. The pat-down itself only takes a minute or so.
Again please be kind to the TSA agents as this can be an inconvenience for them but know that you do have full freedom to request to opt out of the use of X-Ray and Full Body Scanners while traveling.
Use EMF/ Radiation Protection While Flying
You will be exposed to radiation while traveling so what can you do about it? The use of EMF and Radiation protection products is going to be your best option when it comes to radiation exposure while up in the air.
Here are some of my Top EMF Protection Products to bring While Flying:
EMF Protection Blanket
I personally always fly with an EMF blocking blanket, it can cover a good portion of my body, plus it keeps me warm.
Defender Shield EMF Radiation Protection Blanket is by far my favorite.
I love this blanket because it is an ideal size and weight for traveling. The blanket is 32 x 32 x. .3 and weighs 1.75 lbs.
Made with 100% organic bamboo cloth exterior this blanket is both hypoallergenic and non-toxic. Defender Shield claims this blanket has the ability to block up to 100% of wireless EMF radiation.
Never heard of air-tune headphones before? Air-tube headsets use sound waves to transmit the sound from the device to your ear. The main benefit of this is its ability to reduce your exposure to EMF radiation (by as much as 98%).
Defendershield’s EMF Radiation-Free Air Tube Stereo Headphones are the best out there.
These are the best quality air-tube headphones out there. Many other headphones I have tried to decrease your EMF exposure but the sound quality is not good.
With the Defender Shield headphones, you do not have to choose, they eliminate EMF radiation from your head as well as give you great sound quality. These headphones deliver sound via the hollow air tubes rather than through the use of traditional wires.
I can’t imagine traveling without a good pair of earbuds to help block out the noisy airplane. This air-tube earbud-style do a good job at emitting most noise coming from around you, making these great for traveling!
If you want to check out my full guide on Airtube headphones you can check that out here.
EMF Protection Shirt
The use of an EMF protection shirt is a great option if you don’t want to pack an EMF protection blanket. Simply just wear your EMF protection shirt on travel day and your radiation exposure will be lessened.
This unisex tank is an easy way to protect yourself again the radiation you are exposed to while flying. The tank top is lightweight and great to wear by itself or layer for all day EMF/ radiation protection.
This Anti-radiation protection tank top is made with 100% silver-nylon blend. According to Oursure this blend helps to provide RF/microwave shielding performance up to 60 dB with the shielding effectiveness from 10 MHz to 3 GHz
Although the unfortunate truth is ultimately no amount of radiation protection products can keep you 100% radiation free. The use of these products or ones like them can definitely decrease the amount you are exposed to.
EMF Blocking Cell-phone Cases
Make sure to bring your EMF blocking cell phone and laptop case while flying. Although you cannot control what your neighbors are doing you can lessen your EMF radiation exposure by protecting against your own devices!
Cells phones are the highest EMF radiation exposing devices out there. By using a cell phone case like this one Defender Shield you are able to protect yourself from dangerous EMF exposure.
This is the best case out there with multiple layers of shielding to block virtually 100% of All smartphone EMF Radiation. This is a great product to have with you at all times but especially while traveling on planes.
If you need to bring your laptop or iPad with you while traveling makes sure to bring an EMF blocking sleeve as well. The plastic tray we often use as a “desk” while on the plane does nothing for blocking your EMF exposure.
Simply place your laptop or tablet on top of this case and it will protect you from the EMF exposure going through the plastic tray. If you choose to have this directly on your lap it will protect but also keep you cool with the heating shield.
This is one of the most stylish yet affective cases on the market and the one i personally use!
If you want to see all my recommendations for anti-radiation cell phone cases, you can see my full guide here.
Don’t Rush to Get on the Plane
There is no need to be in a hurry to board your airplane. The less time you can spend on the plane the less time you spent trapped with EMF/RF radiation exposure. Remember the highest EMF radiation exposure is while the plane is taxing or waiting to take off before passengers have switched their phones off or to airplane mode.
Choose Window Seat When Possible
The windows are a bit of a break in the planes “metal cage” so when possible choose to sit in the window seat. You will be exposed to a smaller amount of EMF radiation by choosing a window seat.
So is Airplane Radiation Worse than We Think?
I am going to say yes, with the combination of both naturally occurring radiation and that from electronic devices and wifi the amount of radiation we are exposed to while flying is far worse than we thought.
There were many factors into looking into the amount of radiation we are exposed to while flying. One of the biggest factors to consider is the fact that you are on a big metal craft that does not have any way for EMFs to exit.
That means that every laptop, cell-phone, tablet, or any other electronic device will emit EMF radiation that will bounce around the plane exposing basically everyone. This will likely get exponentially worse as 5G continues to be rolled out, and more of our devices are connected to these networks. There will be ways to protect from 5G, but this is something to consider.
I don’t say all this to scare you, as Air travel is often unavoidable, but it’s good information to know.
This results in the EMF radiation bouncing off the walls causing constant exposure, even if you are not using an electronic device. Sitting by a window seat will help a little bit with this exposure not much.
We discussed options for trying to lower your radiation exposure while flying and while they can definitely help there is no way to fully avoid exposure unless you choose not to fly.
So where does this leave us? There is an obvious danger with the amount of radiation we are exposed to while traveling.
The fact that there are such big concerns with pregnant women flying too much should have us stop for a moment and consider whether air travel is really all that safe or just increases our chances of cancer and other harmful diseases caused by radiation.
I hope more studies are done in the future for us to better understand what we are up against and hopefully allow for alternatives and solutions to be made.