Personal UVR exposure of farming families in four European countries.

11 November 2015



The main risk factor for skin cancer is ultraviolet radiation (UVR). Farming families living in rural areas with easy outdoor access may experience excessive UVR exposure. Differences between countries in latitude, altitude and sun behaviour could result in different personal UVR exposures. However, no studies have examined this until now.


To determine personal UVR exposure in work and leisure situations among farming families in Europe.


Prospective cohort study of farmers, their partners (spouses) and children in Denmark (DK), Poland (PL), Austria (AT), and Spain (ES) from 2009 to 2011. Personal UVR exposure and sun behaviour were recorded by dosimetry and diaries.


Farmers' average daily UVR exposure on working days ranged from 1.4 SED (DK, AT) to 2.7 SED (ES). Corresponding figures for partners were: 0.6 SED (DK) to 1.9 SED (PL), and for children (day-care/school days): 0.7 SED (ES) to 1.3 SED (PL).

Discussion and Conclusions

Farmers' UVR exposure was comparable to that of outdoor workers in previous studies and exceeded the recommended UVR exposure limits on 36% (DK, AT), 29% (PL) and 56% (ES) of their working days. Attention to sun protection for outdoor workers across Europe in preventing UVR-induced skin cancer is still needed.


Bodekær, M., Harrison, G.I., Philipsen, P., Petersen, B., Triguero-Mas, M., Schmalwieser, A.W., Rogowski-Tylman, M., Dadvand, P., Lesiak, A., Narbutt, J. and Eriksen, P., 2015. Personal UVR exposure of farming families in four European countries. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, 153, pp.267-275.

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