Dear Flight Attendants,
Harvard has been conducting flight attendant health studies since 2007. Many of you have already participated. Thank you for your participation—-only with your participation can we learn more about our health.
The Harvard team is committed to specifically investigating Flight Attendant health conditions over time, similar to the well-known Nurses’ Health Study research at Harvard.
For your information, some of the study results are posted on the website FAhealth.org.
In the next couple of months, Harvard researchers are inviting Flight Attendants bidding the Boston trip to participate in a study investigating exposure to chemical substances prevalent in the general environment, and specifically, in the aircraft cabin, by analyzing blood samples from flight attendants.
The Boston trip is an accessible location for Harvard researchers to take samples. Some Flight Attendants at Alaska have already participated in this study by meeting the Harvard team at the hotel after arrival in Boston and donating a serum sample and hand wipe sample. (Researchers use an alcohol swab to sweep any possible dust particles off the surfaces of the hands.)
To obtain a better picture of exposure, we need more Flight Attendants to participate. Participants are given a gift in appreciation when they arrive in Boston.
In addition, the researchers are looking for the rare occasion when Flight Attendants have time off—at least 2 weeks—in order to compare the blood level of chemicals during a time when the flight attendant is not working on the aircraft (and not flying as a passenger) with blood levels after flying again. This “wash out” period can occur either before or after a Flight Attendant comes to Boston (Harvard would use a mobile lab technician to take a blood sample at a location convenient for you). This “wash out” information is particularly important to separate aircraft exposures from other sources.
Even if you do not anticipate an upcoming leave, Harvard still wants you to consider participation. The investigators are interested to know whether specific chemical substances are at higher levels in Flight Attendants than the general population. Because some of these chemicals have been associated with endocrine disruption in a small group of animal and human studies, the research team is interested to know about the impact on flight attendants.
If you are willing to participate, please contact Dr. Eileen McNeely to let her know how and when to reach you. She will answer any further questions you have about the research: firstname.lastname@example.org.