1Sapienza – University of Rome, Dept. of Physics, Rome, Italy
2ARPA Valle d'Aosta (Aosta Valley Regional Environmental Protection Agency), Saint-Christophe (Aosta), Italy
3Australian Sun and Health Research Laboratory, Queensland University of Technology, Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation, Brisbane, Australia
4Sapienza - University of Rome, Dept. of Human Physiology and Pharmacology, Rome, Italy
Abstract. Mountain sites experience enhanced ambient UV radiation levels due to the concurrent effects of shorter radiation path-length, low aerosol load and high reflectivity of the snow surfaces.
This study was encouraged by the possibility to collect data of personal UV exposure in the mountainous areas of Italy, for the first time. Personal UV exposure (expressed in terms of Exposure Ratio, ER) of two groups of volunteers (ski instructors and skiers) at the Alpine site of La Thuile (Valle d'Aosta region, Italy) was assessed using polysulphone dosimetry which was tested in a mountainous snow-covered environment. In addition measurements of biological markers of individual response to UV exposure such as skin colorimetric parameters were carried out.
It was found that snow and altitude of study site affect calibration curves of polysulphone dosimeters in comparison to a situation without snow.
The median ER, taking into account the whole sample, is 0.60 in winter, with a range of 0.29 to 1.46, and 1.02 in spring, ranging from 0.46 to 1.72. There are no differences in exposures across skiers and instructors in spring while in winter skiers experience lower values. UV exposures are not sensitive to the use of sunscreen across instructor/skier group by day or by seasons or by photo-type. With regard to colorimetric parameters, the main result was that both skiers and instructors had on average significantly lower values of L* and b* after exposure i.e. becoming darker but the inappropriate sunscreen use did not reveal any changes in skin colorimetric parameters except in one spring day.
In conclusions UV intensities on the ski-fields are often significantly higher than those on horizontal surfaces. Given the high levels of exposure observed in the present study, dedicated public heath messages on the correct sunscreen use should be adopted.