We are all aware of the dangers of sun exposure, including UV radiation and potentially life-threatening skin cancer and melanoma. Are you also aware of how screens expose you to UV radiation? Here is what you need to know and how you can make your work and leisure time safer.
Screens & UV
Few of us really consider how our screens can actually reflect the sun’s UV rays. If you are using your mobile, laptop or tablet outside on a sunny day then you can actually bounce the damaging rays right in the direction of your face which is one of the areas most prone to skin cancer and melanoma. Exposure to excessive UV radiation is one of the causes of skin cancer and melanoma, so it is really important that we limit UV radiation where possible.
The apps and services on mobile phones and devices are designed so that glare isn’t too much of a problem, this means that we often overlook the fact that our screens are reflective. Two scientists were interested in how much UV radiation was reflected back from our screens and so they decided to investigate it with a small study.
Increasing UV exposure
Logue and Zlotoff conducted their experiment in a field in Albuquerque. They fitted a mannequin’s head with a UVA/B meter and positioned it in front of a stand in such a way that any device on the stand would mimic the angle that would be used if the mannequin was an adult looking at the stand. During the trial, they used a variety of devices and even a magazine.
In the first trial, when the distance was greater they discovered that an open magazine increased the UV exposure by 46% compared to the empty stand, when an iPad was used the exposure rate increased to 85% and when an 11-inch Macbook was used this increased to 75%.
Handheld devices are such an important part of our daily lives that limiting our usage isn’t always possible. However, the results of this study show that we must be extra vigilant when using devices outside. Find ways that will keep you protected against the dangers of skin cancer and melanoma: If you are using a device outside then be sure to use sunscreen on any exposed areas of the face and neck, and remember to reapply every two hours.