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Revista médica de Chile

versión impresa ISSN 0034-9887


ARANIBAR D, Ligia; CABRERA S, Sergio  y  HONEYMAN M, Juan. Association between sunburns in children and ultraviolet radiation during summer in Santiago, Chile. Rev. méd. Chile [online]. 2003, vol.131, n.9, pp. 1011-1022. ISSN 0034-9887.

During the recent 10 years the ozone layer has decreased while ultraviolet radiation has increased in Santiago, Chile. Aim: To determine whether the number of sunburns in children correlate with ultraviolet radiation in Santiago. Subjects and methods: During six Austral Summers (1996-2001) children below 15 years old, consulting for sunburn, were evaluated at the "Corporation for the Aid of Burned Children" (COANIQUEM) in Santiago (33.5°S). The number of children with sunburns during each Summer was compared with the corresponding UV-B radiation and the ozone thickness, to establish a probable relation between a geophysical change and its consequences in skin health. The ozone layer values were obtained from the NASA WEB-page and the ultraviolet radiation was measured with a four-channel medium resolution radiometer. Results: In each Summer there was a predominance of sunburns among boys and among ages between 6 and 10 years. During the 96-97 Austral Summer, the highest number of children with sunburns (63) was diagnosed. That Summer also had the highest mean UV-305 nm radiation with an important amount of days with ozone ­260 Dobson Units. Only during that Summer an inverse correlation between ozone and UV-305 nm radiation was detected. At the same time the maximal values of Erythemal Dose Rate (33 µWatt cm-2), UV Index (13) and Erythemal Daily Dose (7.500 Joule m-2) were observed. Conclusions: In Santiago, Summers with a higher number of days with low ozone protection seem to reappear every 3 years. Understanding the interaction of physical processes that control the ozone layer, may help to design better photo-protection programs for human health

Palabras clave : Ozone; Sunburn; Ultraviolet rays; UV-Index.

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