Artificial suntanning: spectral irradiance and hazard evaluation of ultraviolet sources

Health Phys. 1986 Jun;50(6):691-703. doi: 10.1097/00004032-198606000-00001.


High incidences of skin damage and skin cancer amongst Australians have resulted in numerous campaigns to encourage people to protect themselves against solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR). The detrimental effects of UV-B radiation have been known for some time but recently there has been concern over the effects of UV-A radiation which had been thought of as relatively harmless. The proliferation of solaria, which incorporate UV-A sources, prompted the issuing of an Australian standard dealing with technical and non-technical aspects of the artificial suntanning industry. The purpose of this study was to measure the irradiance and spectral distribution of the emission from sunbeds and other UVR sources used for tanning, to evaluate the hazard potential and also the compliance with the standard. It was found that the majority of the UV-A lamps evaluated met the requirements of the standard. The UV-B lamps and portable sunlamps are potentially hazardous and their use should be discouraged. In general, the survey of solaria highlighted the need for further education of the public and especially the users and operators of solaria, on the hazards of UVR and of protective measures required for its safe use.

MeSH terms

  • Australia
  • Health Resorts / standards*
  • Humans
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*