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Photochem Photobiol. 2002 Dec;76(6):664-8.

Ultraviolet emission spectra of sunbeds.

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Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Basel, Switzerland.


It is well known that UV radiation contributes to the development of skin cancer. Exposure to solar radiation is predominantly responsible for the high incidence rate of skin cancer, but there are also indications that sunbeds are involved. The aim of the present investigation was to determine the UV emission spectra of sunbeds. It included the most common sunbed models, which cover more than 50% of the Swiss market. The UV emission spectra of sunbeds have special characteristics and are different from the sun spectrum, which can be seen in high-resolution spectral measurements. Sunbed emission spectra are similar to the sun spectrum in the UVB (280-320 nm) range but reach values 10 to 15 times higher in the UVA (320-400 nm) range. An average erythema-effective irradiance of 0.33 W/m2 was determined for sunbeds. This corresponds to a UV index of 13, which is significantly higher than the UV index of 8.5 of the high summer sun at noon at intermediate latitudes. The measurements were spread over the whole effective area of the sunbeds, and an inhomogeneous distribution of the irradiances with variations of up to 30% from the average value was found.

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