In order to evaluate the potential hazard for the skin and the eye presented by solar ultraviolet radiation, and to take appropriate precautions, it is necessary to characterise the biological effective irradiance or dose. Recently, inexpensive UV indicator cards became available that in principle would provide an attractive means to roughly indicate the local level of erythemal solar UV irradiance.
We have characterised the properties of a number of different types of UV indicator cards. Several parameters which may influence the colour of the cards were examined with both outdoor trials under solar UV as well as indoor trials using a filtered xenon arc lamp. Our findings show that the tested cards do not give an appropriate estimation of the effective irradiance due to their spectral sensitivity and their temperature dependence. The application area of the tested UV indicator cards is therefore limited to certain temperature ranges and to seasons where a certain ratio between solar UV-A and solar UV-B occurs.
Weber, M., Schulmeister, K. and Brusl, H., 2006. Parameters influencing the accuracy and practical applicability of UV indicator cards. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences, 5(7), pp.707-713.
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