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Dermatology Online Journal

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Quantification of ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the shade and in direct sunlight


Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is associated with negative health effects, including sun damage and skin cancer. The purpose of this study is to compare the protective effects of the shade provided by a sun umbrella versus that provided by a tree. Sun sensors that register the level and dose of UV radiation were placed in the shade and in direct sunlight. Measurements were recorded every half hour between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. in Sacramento, California. The results suggest that the level of UV radiation in the shade is not zero. The sensors located in tree shade indicated that over 5% of UV radiation was detected in the shade. The sensors located in sun-umbrella shade showed that greater than 17% of UV radiation reached the shade. The sun sensors used in our study collected UV radiation data relevant to UV index; however, they did not differentiate between UVA, UVB, visible, and infrared light. The amount of UV radiation detected in the shade is not zero, thus regular sunscreen use and other sun protective practices should be followed to reduce the risk of sun damage and skin cancer.

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