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Scientific Review of Solar Radiation & Exposure to Sunlamps or Sunbeds

Status: Listed in the Report on Carcinogens (RoC)

Primary Uses or Exposures: Solar radiation includes most of the electromagnetic spectrum. Of the bands within the optical radiation spectrum, ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is the strongest and most damaging to living things. Sunlamps and sunbeds emit broad-spectrum UVR. Sunbeds now chiefly emit UVA; however, before the mid 1970s, they more commonly emitted UVB and UVC. The greatest source of human exposure to broad-spectrum UVR is solar radiation; however, the exposure varies with geographical location. Approximately 25 million people in the United States use sunbeds each year, and one to two million people visit tanning facilities as often as 100 times a year.

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