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Keywords:

  • environment;
  • indoor worker;
  • risk behaviour;
  • solar;
  • SunSaver;
  • ultraviolet dose

Summary

Background  Personal annual ultraviolet (UV) radiation data based on daily records are needed to develop protective strategies.

Objectives  To compare UV radiation exposure patterns in the winter half-year (October–March) and the summer half-year (April–September) for Danish indoor workers.

Methods  Nineteen indoor workers (age range 17–56 years) wore personal UV dosimeters, measuring time-stamped UV doses continuously during a year. The corresponding sun exposure behaviour was recorded in diaries. Similar data were collected for 28 volunteers during sun holidays in the winter half-year. The relationship between UV dose and sun exposure behaviour was analysed.

Results  The ambient UV dose during the winter in Denmark (at 56°N) was 394 standard erythema doses (SED) or 10·5% of the annual ambient UV dose. In winter compared with summer the subjects had: (i) a lower percentage of ambient UV radiation, 0·82% vs. 3·4%; (ii) a lower solar UV dose in Denmark, 3·1 SED (range 0·2–52) vs. 133 SED (range 69–363); (iii) less time outdoors per day with positive dosimeter measurements, 10 min vs. 2 h; and (iv) no exposure (0 SED) per day on 77% vs. 19% of the days. Sun holidays outside Denmark in winter gave a median 4·3 SED per day (range 0·6–7·6) and 26 SED (range 3–71) per trip.

Conclusions  In the winter half-year indoor workers received a negligible UV dose from solar exposure in Denmark and needed no UV precautions. No UV precautions are needed from November to February during holidays to latitudes above 45 °N, while precautions are needed the whole year around at lower latitudes.