UV Exposure

  • Peter KnuschkeEmail author
Reference work entry


UV radiation is optical radiation in the electromagnetic spectrum between the wavelengths λ = 100 nm and λ = 400 nm. For orientation purposes, the waveband range is subdivided into UV-C: 100–280 nm, UV-B: 280–315 nm, and UV-A: 315–400 nm.

The several artificial sources of UV radiation feature various wavelength-dependent intensity distributions (spectra). The spectrum of the sun – the source of natural UV radiation – varies periodical diurnally and seasonally, influenced by further factors.

The photobiological or actinic response of human tissue to UV exposure is highly wavelength dependent. This response is being described by a so-called action spectrum characteristic for each photobiological effect such as the UV erythema. The action spectrum may vary within and between the UV waveband ranges in orders of magnitude.

The diversity of UV spectra or the change in the spectral distribution on one hand and the marked wavelength dependencies of the action spectra on the other make actinic UV measurement to a difficult matter. It results often in mismeasurements.

In everyday life, humans are permanently exposed to solar UV radiation. In contrast to other noxious, men cannot avoid a basic UV exposure level. Therefore, it is necessary to limit additional UV exposures as well occupational as nonoccupational to reduce the risks from acute and chronic actinic injuries.

To restrict occupational UV exposures numerous recommendations, governmental regulations such as exposure limits or guidelines to evaluate workplaces have been prepared.

Outdoor workers cumulate about two to three times higher annual UV exposure compared to indoor workers. The natural UV intensity is restricted to the maximum of the equatorial sun. In contrast, there exist artificial UV sources causing intensities in a way that the limit value of an 8-h workday is met within a time span of a few seconds or less.


Ultraviolet UV-radiation UV-exposure UV-sources Solar UV Artificial UV Actinic quantity Action spectrum Skin phototype MED SED UV-radiometer Personal UV-dosimeter UV-exposed workplace Exposure limit values Personal UV-monitoring Personal UV-dose Outdoor worker Indoor worker UV-protection measures 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Dermatology, Carl Gustav Carus Faculty of MedicineTechnische Universität DresdenDresdenGermany

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