Episode Information

The health of night shift workers
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
11/29/2007
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In this episode:

Where We Live investigates the health of night shift workers.

 

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53:04 minutes (25.47 MB)
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Dr. Richard Stevens: Photo: Ryan CassellaDr. Richard Stevens Photo: Ryan CassellaThe World Health Organization is about to release a study that says people who work the night shift could have a higher risk of getting cancer.

The study is coming out in the prestigious journal The Lancet Oncology - and it says that the WHO's cancer research agency now considers "shift work" to be a "probable human carcinogen." This puts night workers into the same category as those exposed to toxic chemicals like PCBs.

Researchers have been making these links for years, warning that the disruption of the body's natural cycle of light exposure can cause many harmful effects, including cancer. But there's more to it than that, shift workers are often sleep-deprived, sometimes depressed, and eat unhealthy foods.

We'll talk to one of the leading researchers in the field, Dr. Richard Stevens of the UConn Health Center. We'll look at how these findings might shake up the American workforce and prompt changes in the way we look at the problem of artificial light in our lives.

Our in-studio guest is Dr. Richard Stevens of the UConn Health Center. Our phone-in guests are Dr. Vincent Cogliano of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and Dr. Mark Rea, Director of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

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