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occupational health

Occupational health

Radiation and astronaut mortality, Part 2: Gathering the measurements

In order to estimate radiation doses in space, I had to make some basic assumptions. First, I assumed that radiation dose levels would vary by some measurable factors: altitude, orbital inclination, and the type of spacecraft. If this were true, then the dose received would depend on how much time was spent at any given location defined by these parameters. While these assumptions do not account for all the factors according to which radiation dose rates might vary (e.g., solar particle events and variation in the solar cycle may have an impact), they are a reasonable starting point.

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Radiation and astronaut mortality, Part 1: Conceptualizing the problem

As part of my doctoral dissertation for my PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, I completed a three-phase project which asked whether the mortality rates for astronauts increase with the amount of ionizing radiation they have absorbed in space. Though a simple question to ask, answering it presented a challenge. In this collection of four posts I discuss why it was so difficult, how I got around those difficulties, and finally – the results!

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Commercial fishing: A risky business

Anyone who’s ever watched Deadliest Catch on Discovery Channel knows that commercial fishing is dangerous work. But exactly how dangerous is it? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, private sector workers in agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting industries have a rate of fatal occupational injuries of 26.8 per 100,000 population per year, the highest of any profession reported.

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