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Protection of man against the hazards of solar UV radiation and UV radiation in solaria

Recommendation by the German Commission on Radiological Protection

Adopted at the 280th meeting of the German Commission on Radiological Protection on the 11th and 12th February 2016

The number of UV-induced cases of skin cancer reported in Germany is still rising. This trend is attributed to increased UV exposures during leisure time, particularly at weekends and when on holiday, and is also linked to an increase in solaria use. Occupational UV exposure of outdoor workers should also not be overlooked. Discussions are increasingly focussing on the role that UV-induced vitamin D synthesis plays in terms of human health. With this in mind, the German Commission on Radiological Protection has revised its recommendations on the protection of man against the hazards of solar UV radiation and UV radiation in solaria, and has also prepared a detailed scientific justification. The results of this advisory mandate replace the recommendations and scientific justifications from 1990, 1993, 1997 and 2001. In line with primary prevention, these recommendations serve to make the general public aware of the risks of UV radiation and enable members of the general public to incorporate protective measures into their everyday life.

To this end, the SSK issued a series of recommendations on dealing with UV radiation, with a particular focus on protecting children from the negative effects of UV radiation. Below are the main general recommendations:

  • Avoid excessive UV exposure; this applies to children in particular,
  • application of sun protection measures
  • no use of solaria.

The SSK also provides information on how to implement these general recommendations. The main sun protection measure involves seeking shade, followed by suitable clothing to protect against the sun, and then the use of sunscreen. The current UV Index values and forecast should be taken into account when planning outdoor activities. The SKK generally advises against using solaria, and also provides information about the German UV Radiation Protection Ordinance (UVSV) that was enacted in 2009 and bans people under the age of 18 from using solaria. The SSK also recommends enhanced use of preventive behavioural measures, such as providing shaded areas in school playgrounds and public areas, and taking UV levels into account when organising sports events.

The scientific justification details the complex topic of UV-induced vitamin D synthesis in the skin, potential vitamin D deficiency and its effects on health, as well as the increased risk of skin cancer. Based on its scientific justification, the SSK recommends brief unprotected UV exposures of the face, hands, arms and lower legs two to three times per week.

Download PDF (German)
URN: urn:nbn:de:101:1-2018111911051946447143

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Beratungsgremium SSK

Die Strahlenschutzkommission (SSK) ist ein Beratungsgremium des Bundesministeriums für Umwelt, Naturschutz und nukleare Sicherheit (BMU) und berät dieses ...

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