Indoor UV

UV Radiation from non-Sun sources such as Lighting or Computer Monitors

Shopping in a mall for two hours is equivalent to a full hour in the sun. Thanks to the bright, fluorescent lighting, you don't get sunburned but you do get the full hour of UV rays. You can expect the same in hospitals and clinics. Copiers, computer screens, welding, and various other kinds of lighting are additional sources of UV rays. Many people describe the effects of UV lighting as giving them a "woozy" feeling making them feel nauseous or fatigued.

Protecting yourself from indoor UV radiation


During peak sun hours use window blinds or shades to block out direct exposure. If you can, try to arrange your workspace and sitting areas not to be too close to the windows. These areas will best serve you away from direct sunlight. As you get further away from a window, UVA rays decrease significantly. Therefore, it makes the most sense to avoid spending too much time close to the windows- especially if you have large windows.

In order to protect yourself from indoor UV radiation, you simply can use the same techniques as you would for the sun outside: sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, gloves, etc. Additionally, you can replace sources of UV radiation such as fluorescent lighting with incandescent bulbs or you can add UV shields to existing lighting. If you work in a place where it’s not possible to avoid UV lighting, try wearing sunscreens with high UVB and UVA protection. You may also consider donning light-colored sunglasses that block out UV rays.

Computer Monitors and UV Radiation


The amounts of UV radiation given off by a computer are very small; most people are not affected by it. However, if you are in front of a computer screen for long periods of time (more than an hour at a time, for days in a row), you may experience some effects.

If long exposure in front of a computer screen is the case for you, the best thing is to purchase a monitor anti-glare screen that fits over the monitor itself. It beats the glare as well as blocks the UV rays. 3M Company makes several different kinds.

Flat Panel Screens


Newer thin or flat panel computer monitors and all laptop/notebook computer screens are Liquid Crystal type displays (LCDs). Scientists were unable to detect any UVA or UVB using meters capable of measuring as low as 1 microwatt per square centimeter in the UVA and UVB spectrum. This is good news as many people are turning to flat computer monitor screens nowadays.

Lighting and UV Radiation


UV problems don’t come with most normal light bulbs, but rather with fluorescent and halogen lighting. You can purchase filters or replace the UV emitting bulbs with normal light bulbs. The idea is to reduce UV exposure as much as possible both at home and at work.

UV Radiation and your Car


Most cars built nowadays build the windshield out of a laminated glass that blocks all of UVB and the vast majority of UVA. Unfortunately, the side and rear windows are usually made from non-laminated glass and let much of UVA through. You can get tinting added to the side windows, but you have to make sure that you comply with the 70% minimum visible light transmittance that is mandated by the federal government. Rather than go through the extra expense of getting your windows tinted, it’s just as easy (and a lot cheaper) to make sure that you protect yourself with the appropriate sunscreen, sunglasses and clothing.

It’s common knowledge that sun damage is the number one factor in skin cancer and in the aging of the skin. In fact, in the three decades from 1973 to 2003, the incidence of melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, rose by 81 percent.
Ultraviolet rays are divided into three separate categories and have different effects upon our bodies. Those three are: UVA, UVB and UVC rays- often written as UVA, UVB, and UVC. There are varying theories about UV radiation, but most experts agree that only type UVA and UVB rays can reach the Earth and are, therefore, harmful to our skin. UVC rays, while also dangerous, cannot get through the ozone layer to the Earth.
Sunscreens come in creams, sprays, gels, lotions, sticks, and ointments. Although a higher SPF number provides better protection, it does not necessarily increase the length of time you can be exposed to the sun.
The first step in finding and choosing the sunscreen that is best for you is to choose a sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. That is, the better the sunscreen, the stronger its ability to provide you with a high degree of protection against sunburn, skin aging and skin cancer.
In the previous sections, the dangers of UV radiation exposure have been clearly explained and expounded upon. However, total avoidance of the sun can also lead to negative consequences. That is, there are health benefits to be had from exposure to sunlight.