Damage to UV-Sensitive Cells by Short UV in Photographic Flashes


*Inserm, U312, Lab Dermatology, Hôpital St. Louis, Pavilion Bazin, 1 Avenue Claude Vellefaux, 75010 Paris, France. Fax: 33 1–42 00 00 29.


Abstract— Light emitted by electronic photographic flash units is shown to damage bacteria and human skin fibroblasts deficient in repair systems, with survival curves very similar to those produced by 254 nm short UV. The lesions induced by these flashes are as photorepairable by the photolyase enzyme as those induced by 254 nm UV and result in equivalent survival rates. Biological dosimetry performed with microorganisms highly sensitive to UV (Escherichia coli K12 AB2480, deficient in excision and recombinational-dependent repair systems and Bacillus subtilis UVSSP spores, deficient in excision and in a specific spore repair process) revealed that each 1 ms flash of light from the photographic unit used in this work contained the equivalent of 0.25 J m−2 of 254 nm UV, when measured at a distance of 7.0 cm. This dose of UV was found to be lethal to both repair-deficient E. coli bacteria and repair-deficient human skin fibroblasts obtained from xeroderma pigmentosum donors, as well as mutagenic in B/r wild-type and HCR-mutant bacteria.