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Health Hazards > UV Radiation
Sunlight provides light, warmth and the production of Vitamin D in the body. However, overexposure to sunlight and UV radiation can cause diseases of the eye, immune system suppression, and skin cancers. Workers who spend a majority of their time outdoors are at a greater risk for developing adverse health effects from UV radiation.
Sun

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Effects of UV Radiation Top

Skin:

  • Sunburn
  • Redness
  • Tenderness
  • Blistering
  • Fever
  • Nausea (feeling sick to stomach)

Premature Aging:

  • Tough, leathery appearance
  • Red, yellow, gray or brown spots
  • Wrinkles

Cancers:

  • Commonly occur on face, neck, ears, forearms and hands
  • Small, white, wax-like bumps
  • Red, scaly patches
  • Darkened mole or irregular patches of brown color

Note: If you discover any of the above skin changes, consult your health care provider.

Sensitivity:

  • Bumps
  • Hives or raised areas
  • Red blotchy areas

Note: Certain drugs, perfumes, and cosmetics also can cause sun sensitivity.

Eyes:

  • Burns of the cornea
  • Cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye)
  • Possible macular degeneration (development of spots) that could lead to blindness

Immune System:

  • Increased likelihood of developing infections
  • Worsening of certain diseases (e.g. cold sores, chicken pox, lupus) with sun exposure.
Top


Possible Solutions/Controls Top
  • Reduce exposure to the sun when it is most intense (10am-3pm).

  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat that covers ears, head and neck.

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing made of tightly woven fabric.

  • Apply a sun screen (SPF 15 or greater) at least 20 minutes before going outside.

  • Wear sunglasses that block 100 percent UVA and UVB radiation. Wrap-around styles give the most protection.

  • Apply lip balm with a sunscreen of SPF 15 or greater.

  • Take breaks in the shade.

Note:

  • Snow, sand, water, and concrete reflect the sun's rays, intensifying exposure.
  • Higher altitudes have less atmosphere to filter out UV rays.
  • UV rays are present even on cloudy days.
  • Some medications can increase the skin's sensitivity to the sun. Ask a pharmacist or your healthcare provider about the drugs you are taking.
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