UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Levels of occupational exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation in Vancouver, Canada Peters, Cheryl Elizabeth; Demers, Paul A.; Kalia, Sunil; Nicol, Anne-Marie; Koehoorn, Mieke, 1966-


Introduction: Outdoor workers are at high risk of exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR), a known human carcinogen. In Canada no objective measures of UVR exposure are available for occupational settings. Methods: The Outdoor Workers Project collected UVR exposure data among outdoor workers in Vancouver, Canada during the summer of 2013. Objective measures of exposure were taken for one week using calibrated electronic UVR dosimeters. Additional data was collected from workers on skin cancer risk factors, family history of skin cancer, and job type; as well as meteorological data for sampling days. Marginal models were constructed to examine the worker, job and meteorological determinants of UVR exposure levels, as measured in Standard Erythemal Dose (SED). Results: Seventy‐eight workers were recruited, of which seventy‐three had at least one day of measured UVR exposure for this analysis. Participants were mostly male, young and Caucasian. Mean exposure (corrected for repeated measures) was 1.08 SED. Exposure measures were highly variable even in the same workplace, ranging from 0.01 SED to 19.2 SED. Younger age, working in land‐based construction, and sunnier weather forecasts led to higher levels of UVR exposure. Conclusions: Exposure levels capable of causing sunburn were common in the present study of outdoor workers, in a location not typically associated with high sun exposure.

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