Occupational Exposure to UV Radiation Linked to Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer, Study Finds

Occupational Exposure to UV Radiation Linked to Nonmelanoma Skin Cancer, Study Finds

A recent study published in Environment International has revealed the significant burden of nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) associated with occupational exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR). The research, conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labor Organization (ILO), estimated global, regional, and national occupational exposures to UVR and their impact on NMSC.

To determine occupational exposure to UVR, the study utilized data from 166 million observations across 96 countries, obtained through 763 cross-sectional surveys. By proxy, occupational exposure was modeled based on outdoor work. The population-attributable fractions (PAFs) were then applied to estimate the burden of NMSC.

The findings revealed that in 2019, a staggering 1.6 billion workers globally, accounting for 28.4 percent of the working-age population, were exposed to UVR in their occupations. The PAFs for both NMSC deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) were substantial at 29.0 and 30.4 percent, respectively. This translated to 18,960 deaths and 0.5 million DALYs attributed to NMSC. The burden was particularly pronounced among men and older age groups. Furthermore, the study highlighted a nearly doubled increase in attributable deaths and DALYs from 2000 to 2019.

The authors of the study emphasized the commonality of occupational exposure to UVR and its detrimental impact on public health. The WHO and ILO estimate that this exposure leads to a significant number of deaths and DALYs from NMSC.

Understanding the risks associated with occupational exposure to UVR is crucial for developing effective prevention strategies and implementing appropriate workplace safety measures. By raising awareness about the link between UVR and NMSC, steps can be taken to protect workers and reduce the burden of this preventable disease.


Q: What is nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC)?
A: Nonmelanoma skin cancer refers to a group of skin cancers, such as basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, which are distinct from melanoma.

Q: What are population-attributable fractions (PAFs)?
A: Population-attributable fractions are a measure used to estimate the proportion of disease burden in a population that can be attributed to a specific risk factor.

Q: What are disability-adjusted life years (DALYs)?
A: Disability-adjusted life years are a measure of overall disease burden, representing the number of healthy years of life lost due to illness, disability, or premature death.

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