Discussions of risks and implications of cutaneous exposure to indoor lighting, including hypothetical contribution to causality of melanoma, have mainly concentrated on ultraviolet (UV) A and B (UVA, UVB) spectral emissions from fluorescent bulbs. Only studies of quartz halogen lamps have suggested that users might sustain UVC-induced injury. Examination of light sources in the home and school of a child with xeroderma pigmentosum revealed that several different types emitted surprising levels of UV. Our purpose was to assess the extent of UV emissions from a variety of commonly used light sources to identify potential dermatological risks. UV and visible spectral emissions of commercially obtained lamps of several types were measured using a calibrated spectral radiometer traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Indoor light sources including fluorescent, quartz halogen and even tungsten filament incandescent lamps provided UVA, UVB and sometimes UVC emissions. Intensities of some emissions were of similar magnitude to those in sunlight. Chronic exposure to indoor lighting may deliver unexpected cumulative UV exposure to the skin and eyes. Patients with UV-exacerbated dermatoses should be cautioned about potential adverse reactions from indoor lighting.
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Vol. 80 • No. 1