Vitamin D production in human skin occurs only when incident UV radiation exceeds a certain threshold. From simulations of UV irradiances worldwide and throughout the year, we have studied the dependency of the extent and duration of cutaneous vitamin D production in terms of latitude, time, total ozone, clouds, aerosols, surface reflectivity and altitude. For clear atmospheric conditions, no cutaneous vitamin D production occurs at 51 degrees latitude and higher during some periods of the year. At 70 degrees latitude, vitamin D synthesis can be absent for 5 months. Clouds, aerosols and thick ozone events reduce the duration of vitamin D synthesis considerably, and can suppress vitamin D synthesis completely even at the equator. A web page allowing the computation of the duration of cutaneous vitamin D production worldwide throughout the year, for various atmospheric and surface conditions, is available on the Internet at http://zardoz.nilu.no/~olaeng/fastrt/VitD.html and http://zardoz.nilu.no/~olaeng/fastrt/VitD-ez.html. The computational methodology is outlined here.
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Vol. 81 • No. 6