Outdoor workers face increased cancer risk

February 5, 2014 by Carolyn Monaghan

(Medical Xpress)—Perth researchers have completed a comprehensive study into Australian workers and their exposure to ultraviolet radiation - a known human carcinogen.

The team from The University of Western Australia - affiliated with the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research - found workers at particular risk of were farmers, trades and construction workers, and drivers.

"Solar UV exposure is the leading cause of melanomas, and and the workplace is a significant setting for exposure for many Australians," Winthrop Professor Lin Fritschi said.

The new study has provided comprehensive information about the extent of exposure among workers in a cross-section of industries, compared with previous studies that concentrated on one industry or job title.

The research found that overall, about 37 per cent of males and eight per cent of females are exposed to solar radiation at work. This is about two million workers in Australia. Exposure to was more likely among males in lower socio-economic and regional areas.

"Although 95 per cent of the people we spoke to said they used sun protection, the level of protection varied and in reality, less than nine per cent were fully protected from UV radiation," Professor Fritschi said.

"Workers also need to be aware that reflective surfaces can also create significant levels of UVR, which is why tradespeople on roofs, near water or next to a glass window in a vehicle are exposed."

She said the exposure information gathered during the study would be crucial for the future planning and prioritisation of strategies to reduce skin cancer risks in the workplace.

The paper was published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Explore further: Researchers study how patterns, timing of sunlight exposure contribute to skin cancers

Related Stories

Protecting the skin from sun exposure

January 27, 2014

The ultraviolet radiation (UVR) present in sunlight is the most common environmental carcinogen, and long-term exposure to UVR can lead to skin cancer and premature aging of the skin. To develop better methods of protection ...

Recommended for you

Combination therapy can prevent cytostatic resistance

November 26, 2015

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have found a new way of preventing resistance to cytostatics used in the treatment of cancers such as medulloblastoma, the most common form of malignant brain tumour in children. The promising ...

Forecasting the path of breast cancer in a patient

November 23, 2015

USC researchers have developed a mathematical model to forecast metastatic breast cancer survival rates using techniques usually reserved for weather prediction, financial forecasting and surfing the Web.


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.