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Occupational exposure to solar UV radiation – A short review of relevant papers on the quantification of exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation of outdoor workers


1. Sapienza Università di Roma, Department of Physics, Rome, Italy
2. Sapienza Università di Roma, Department of Anatomical Sciences, Rome, Italy
*Corresponding author


This paper intends to be a tentative summary of the state of knowledge on the quantification of occupational exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation by reviewing the relevant literature. The authors have already published some studies on this topic using polysulphone (PS) dosimetry, providing a significant contribution to the few studies on the quantification of UV exposure for professional outdoor workers in Italy. The paper also highlights the importance of such studies in the Mediterranean area and the Italian territory, with high potential to receive intense solar UV doses through most of the year.

Ambient ultraviolet radiation (280-400 nm) comprises about 5 percent of total solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. It is usually divided into UVA (320-400 nm) and UVB (280-320 nm), while UVC (100-280 nm) is completely absorbed in the upper atmosphere.
Ambient UV is affected by a large number of factors: solar zenith angle (the angle between the vertical and the sun, which depends on local coordinates, time of day and time of year), altitude, state of the atmosphere (gases, mainly ozone, cloud cover and particulate) and ground reflectivity (1). Some of them can be sometimes difficult to measure and to quantify.
In outdoor activities the human skin is exposed to solar ultraviolet radiation on a daily basis. Erythemal reaction is a well-known acute deterministic effect in human skin due to solar UV exposure, mainly in fair phototypes. Other effects on skin are chronic and include cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM) and non melanoma (NMSC) skin cancers. Among NMSC, about 20 percent are squamous cell carcinomas (SCC) and 80 percent basal cell carcinomas (BCC), which are among the most frequent cancer types worldwide. CMM ...

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