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J Photochem Photobiol B. 2006 Oct 2;85(1):23-7. Epub 2006 May 30.

Anatomical distribution of solar ultraviolet exposures among cyclists.

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Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Faculty of Health, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Qld 4001, Australia.


Exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the major environmental factor implicated in the development of melanoma and other skin cancers, as well as eye damage and skin photoaging. Outdoor recreational activities such as cycling are increasingly pursued for health benefits, however little information is available regarding potential adverse effects of excessive sun exposure in this setting, nor about the anatomical distribution of solar dose. Polysulphone badges (UV dosimeters) were attached to the head, backs of hands and ankles of 22 cyclists during a seven-day charity bicycle ride in Queensland, Australia. Average daily exposures exceeded one minimal erythemal dose (MED) at all body sites except the ankle. Significant differences in UV dose among the various body sites were noted, with highest exposures recorded on the top of the head. Mean doses received at the ankle (0.94 MED), back of the hand (1.28 MED) and side of the head (1.14 MED) were 51%, 71% and 63% of those received at the top of the head (1.80 MED), respectively. These data indicate that cycling exposes adherents to substantial doses of UV radiation. Moreover, our observations suggest that even vertically-oriented, potentially shaded sites such as the lower leg typically receive doses of solar radiation no less than half of maximally exposed sites.

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