• Open Access

Monitoring of Solar-UV Exposure among Schoolchildren in Five Japanese Cities Using Spore Dosimeter and UV-coloring Labels



To monitor personal exposure to biologically effective solar-UV radiation, Bacillus subtilis spores on a membrane filter and UV-coloring labels were incorporated into a monitoring badge. The samples were covered with one of three types of filter sheet, dependent on the season, to reduce the amounts of exposure to measurable levels. Five fifth- or sixth-grade classes of primary schools, each consisting of 30–40 children, were chosen in northern (Sapporo), central (Tsukuba and Tokyo), and southern (Miyazaki and Naha) cities in Japan. In all four seasons, each child wore a badge on an upper arm for the entire waking hours, changing it daily, for a week. Upon collection of the badges, the survival of spores and the extent of coloration of the label were determined. The results were used to estimate the amount of daily exposure to biologically effective UV radiation, expressed as the value of spore inactivation dose. Unexpectedly, the average amounts of exposure were not directly correlated with the outdoor UV irradiance: in the two southern cities, despite high outdoor irradiance from spring to autumn, the average amounts of exposure were less than 3.1% of the average irradiance. Highly concentrated exposures occurred in two central cities on three days when extensive outdoor exercise took place. These results contradict the simple notion that childrens' exposure is in proportion to the outdoor UV irradiance, and support the view that the extent of solar-UV exposure is primarily determined by life-style rather than living location.