A numeric model to simulate solar individual ultraviolet exposure

Photochem Photobiol. 2011 May-Jun;87(3):721-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-1097.2011.00895.x. Epub 2011 Feb 10.


Exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) light is the main causative factor for skin cancer. UV exposure depends on environmental and individual factors. Individual exposure data remain scarce and development of alternative assessment methods is greatly needed. We developed a model simulating human exposure to solar UV. The model predicts the dose and distribution of UV exposure received on the basis of ground irradiation and morphological data. Standard 3D computer graphics techniques were adapted to develop a rendering engine that estimates the solar exposure of a virtual manikin depicted as a triangle mesh surface. The amount of solar energy received by each triangle was calculated, taking into account reflected, direct and diffuse radiation, and shading from other body parts. Dosimetric measurements (n = 54) were conducted in field conditions using a foam manikin as surrogate for an exposed individual. Dosimetric results were compared to the model predictions. The model predicted exposure to solar UV adequately. The symmetric mean absolute percentage error was 13%. Half of the predictions were within 17% range of the measurements. This model provides a tool to assess outdoor occupational and recreational UV exposures, without necessitating time-consuming individual dosimetry, with numerous potential uses in skin cancer prevention and research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Humans
  • Manikins
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Radiation Dosage*
  • Radiometry
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Skin Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Sunlight