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Epidemiol Prev. 2013 Jan-Feb;37(1):51-9.

[Solar ultraviolet radiation risk in outdoor workers: a specific project of Tuscany Region (Italy)].

[Article in Italian]

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SC Epidemiologia Ambientale Occupazionale, Istituto per lo studio e la Prevenzione Oncologica, Firenze.



The aims of Tuscany Regional project were: to study the sun protection attitude of outdoor workers; to measure solar ultraviolet (UV) exposure in work environment; to describe the frequency of photoaging, precancerous lesions, and skin cancers in outdoor workers; to collect information on solar ultraviolet radiation exposure from incident cases of Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer (NMSC) recruited from Tuscany Cancer Registry.


Outdoor workers completed a questionnaire devoted to collect information on sun protection attitudes during a typical summer working week. Environmental and personal measurements were carried out. Expert dermatologists examined outdoor workers to assess the frequency of photoaging, precancerous lesions, and skin cancer. A structured questionnaire was mailed to incident cases of NMSC. Information were collected on personal habits and working history, focusing on solar ultraviolet radiation exposure.


Agriculture, construction, quarrying and fishing activities were considered: 292 employees responded to questions about the type of clothing used in the morning and in the afternoon,while working outdoors; 637 outdoor workers underwent skin examination. We contacted 743 cases of NMSC occurred in 2004; 498 subjects accepted to participate in this study.


The clothing worn by surveyed subjects was often inadequate compared to the high level of exposure to UV. The skin examination of 637 outdoor workers highlighted 2 melanomas, 7 epitheliomas and 35 actinic keratoses. Among the 498 cases of NMSC, 135 (27%) were diagnosed in outdoor workers. Most represented economic activity sectors were: agriculture, construction, transport, sports.


The characterization of outside workers revealed unsatisfactory sun protection behaviours. Moreover, previously undetected skin cancers were diagnosed. The study on MNSC confirms the complexity of studying the exposure to UV radiation. The Tuscany Regional project provided useful information on the risk of solar ultraviolet radiation in outdoor workers. Prevention programs are needed.

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