Classroom teachers located in Queensland, Australia are exposed to high levels of ambient solar ultraviolet as part of the occupational requirement to provide supervision of children during lunch and break times. We investigated the relationship between periods of outdoor occupational radiant exposure and available ambient solar radiation across different teaching classifications and schools relative to the daily occupational solar ultraviolet radiation (HICNIRP) protection standard of 30 J/m2.
Self-reported daily sun exposure habits (n = 480) and personal radiant exposures were monitored using calibrated polysulphone dosimeters (n = 474) in 57 teaching staff from 6 different schools located in tropical north and southern Queensland. Daily radiant exposure patterns among teaching groups were compared to the ambient UV-Index. Personal sun exposures were stratified among teaching classifications, school location, school ownership (government vs non-government), and type (primary vs secondary). Median daily radiant exposures were 15 J/m2 and 5 J/m2 HICNIRP for schools located in northern and southern Queensland respectively.
Of the 474 analyzed dosimeter-days, 23.0% were found to exceed the solar radiation protection standard, with the highest prevalence found among physical education teachers (57.4% dosimeter-days), followed by teacher aides (22.6% dosimeter-days) and classroom teachers (18.1% dosimeter-days). In Queensland, peak outdoor exposure times of teaching staff correspond with periods of extreme UV-Index. The daily occupational HICNIRP radiant exposure standard was exceeded in all schools and in all teaching classifications.
Downs, N.J., Harrison, S.L., Chavez, D.R.G. and Parisi, A.V., 2016. Solar ultraviolet and the occupational radiant exposure of Queensland school teachers: A comparative study between teaching classifications and behavior patterns. Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology B: Biology, 158, pp.105-112.
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