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Abstract

In this study the personal exposure to solar UV radiation in an urban environment was measured. Lifestyle in an urban environment is characterized by staying indoors during most of the day. Furthermore, the ambient UV radiation is mitigated by shadowing by buildings. The aim of the study was to find out activities which may contribute to UV-induced health risk in a low exposure environment. Exposure was measured during typical outdoor activities: shopping, walking, sitting in a sidewalk café, cycling, sightseeing and at an open-air pool (solar elevation: 10°–70°). Measurements were taken with an optoelectronic device which was fixed on the chest. Besides the UV Index we used the sun burn time (SBT) for risk assessments. Generalization of our results was made by calculating ratios of personal exposure to the ambient UV radiation. UV exposure was by far the highest when our study subject stayed at the swimming pool. The SBT was around 30 min for melano-compromised skin type. For all other activities, except shopping, the SBT range up to 1 h. With respect to photodamage we found that at high solar elevation (>45°) photoprotective measures should be applied for certain activities even within a city.