Personal UV exposure in high albedo alpine sites A. M. Siani1, G. R. Casale1, H. Diémoz2, G. Agnesod2, M. G. Kimlin3, C. A. Lang3, and A. Colosimo4 1Sapienza – University of Rome, Department of Physics, Rome, Italy 2ARPA Valle d'Aosta (Aosta Valley Regional Environmental Protection Agency), Saint-Christophe (Aosta), Italy 3Australian Sun and Health Research Laboratory, Queensland University of Technology, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Brisbane, Australia 4Sapienza – University of Rome, Department of Human Physiology and Pharmacology, Rome, Italy
Abstract. Mountain sites experience enhanced UV radiation levels due to the concurrent
effects of shorter radiation path-length, low aerosol load and high
reflectivity of the snow surfaces. This study was encouraged by the
possibility to collect original data of personal dose on a specific
anatomical site (erythemally effective UV dose on the forehead) of two
groups of volunteers (ski instructors and skiers) in the mountainous areas
of Italy (the Alpine site of La Thuile-Les Suches in Valle d'Aosta region).
Personal doses were assessed using polysulphone dosimetry. Exposure Ratio
(ER), defined as the ratio between the personal dose and the corresponding
ambient dose (i.e. erythemally weighted dose received by a horizontal
surface) during the same exposure period was taken into account. In addition
measuring skin colours as biological markers of individual response to UV
exposure, was also carried out on the forearm and cheek of each volunteer
before and after exposure.
The median ER, taking into account the whole sample, is 0.60 in winter, with
a range of 0.29 to 1.46, and 1.02 in spring, ranging from 0.46 to 1.72. No
differences in ERs were found between skiers and instructors in spring while
in winter skiers experienced lower values.
Regarding skin colorimetric parameters the main result was that both skiers
and instructors had on average significantly lower values of luminance after
exposure i.e.~they became darker. It was found that the use of sunscreen and
individual skin photo-type did not produce significant variations in ER
across instructor/skier group by day and by seasons (p>0.05). It seems that
sunscreen use only at the beginning of the exposure or in a few cases a
couple of times during exposure (at difference with the specific
instructions sheets), was not sufficient to change significantly skin
colorimetric parameters across participants.
In conclusion UV personal doses on the ski-fields are often significantly
higher than those on horizontal surfaces and consistently more intense
respect to personal doses received by sunbathers on the beach in central
Italy (ER range: 0.09–0.42). Given the high levels of exposure observed in
the present study, specific public health warnings with regards to the
efficacy of sun-protection behaviours (proper application and re-application
of sunscreen and protective measures such as hats and sun glasses) should be
Citation: Siani, A. M., Casale, G. R., Diémoz, H., Agnesod, G., Kimlin, M. G., Lang, C. A., and Colosimo, A.: Personal UV exposure in high albedo alpine sites, Atmos. Chem. Phys., 8, 3749-3760, doi:10.5194/acp-8-3749-2008, 2008.