The impacts of optical radiation in the environment on skin : hazards, measurement, regulation and protection
From 2001 to 2005, work was conducted at the Photobiology Unit at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee to examine the optical radiation environment and its implications for normal and diseased skin. Artificial sources of radiation were considered within the contexts of the hazards posed, measurement of the hazards, regulation concerning exposure and sources, and protection of abnormal skin from adversee ffects. The hazards posed by both ultraviolet (UV) and visible polychromatic sources were examined for normal and abnormal (chronic actinic dermatitis and solar urticaria) skin in an effort to predict the responses to such radiation. With current methodologiesi t was shown that responsesto polychromatic light cannot be forecast for normal and abnormal skin. Those hazards posed by light sources in the commercial sector are also considered. The sunbeds available in Perthshire and Dundee were evaluated spectroradiometrically and appropriate weighting functions applied. A case of adverse effects due to inappropriate use of an UV source is also presented and the implications are discussed. Two diode array spectroradiometers were evaluated for their potential as instruments to measure UV sources. It was shown that one instrument could be used to give measurementsw ith acceptablee rrors. However, later work with a different instrument of the same series showed that there are manufacturing issues to be resolved before these instruments are marketed for widespread use in dosimetry. Regulations governing exposure to and use of sources are considered where appropriate. Licensing of commercial sunbed parlours is suggested in order to enforce Health and Safety guidelines and the British Standard for such appliances, create a baseline for minimum standards of care within the commercial sector and safeguard public health. Lastly, it has been shown that skin sensitive to visible light can be protected with commercial makeup preparations.