Measured Occupational Solar UVR Exposures of Lifeguards in Pool Settings


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Abstract

BackgroundThe aim of this study was to measure ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposures of lifeguards in pool settings and evaluate their personal UVR protective practices.MethodsLifeguards (n=168) wore UVR sensitive polysulfone (PS) film badges in wrist bracelets on 2 days and completed a survey and diary covering sun protection use. Analyses were used to describe sun exposure and sun protection practices, to compare UVR exposure across locations, and to compare findings with recommended threshold limits for occupational exposure.ResultsThe measured UVR exposures varied with location, ranging from high median UVR exposures of 6.2 standard erythemal doses (SEDs) to the lowest median of 1.7 SEDs. More than 74% of the lifeguards' PS badges showed UVR above recommended threshold limits for occupational exposure. Thirty-nine percent received more than four times the limit and 65% of cases were sufficient to induce sunburn. The most common protective behaviors were wearing sunglasses and using sunscreen, but sun protection was often inadequate.ConclusionsAt-risk individuals were exposed to high levels of UVR in excess of occupational limits and though appropriate types of sun protection were used, it was not used consistently and more than 50% of lifeguards reported being sunburnt at least twice during the previous year. Am. J. Ind. Med. 52:645-653, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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