Papers and Posters Site Home Page

ULTRAVIOLET PROTECTIVE CAPABILITIES OF HATS UNDER TWO DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERIC CONDITIONS

M.G. Kimlin 1, * and A.V. Parisi1

1Centre for Astronomy and Atmospheric Research, Faculty of Sciences, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, 4350, Australia. Phone 61 7 46 312727, FAX 61 7 312721. E-mail: kimlin@usq.edu.au

* To whom correspondence should be addressed.

ABSTRACT
This paper presents the results of the ultraviolet (UV) protection for 3 types of hats commonly used by Queensland schoolchildren This was achieved through using 16 polysulphone dosimeters placed at selected anatomical locations over each rotating headform during cloudy conditions compared to clear sky conditions. From these experiments, the facial distribution and erythemal UV exposure at facial sites were measured. The overall picture of the facial sites receiving high UV exposure was provided, both with and without hats for cloudy and clear atmospheric conditions. A reduction in the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), averaged over all measurement sites of 22%, 11% and 13% compared to clear sky conditions occurred for the 3 hats used in this study when they were worn in cloudy conditions compared to clear sky conditions.

1. INTRODUCTION
Human exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a fact of normal everyday existence for most humans. The ultraviolet radiation exposure of the human facial region has been the focus of many studies. The human facial region is important in UV exposure research, as it is one part of the human body not directly covered with clothes. Diffey et al., (1979) undertook a series of experiments on a human headform model to determine the facial areas with the highest UV exposure. This collected data was then correlated with published values of the distribution of basal cell carcinomas of the face. These authors found that the skin cancer incidence increases with UV exposure. Wong et al., (1992) and Gies et al., (1988) also investigated the facial distribution of UV radiation, focusing on the relative exposure of a facial site to the vertex of the head. Rosenthal et al., (1991) developed a model to predict the ocular and facial UV exposure using information of work activities, leisure activities, sunglasses usage and hat usage combined with laboratory measurements of UV exposure. Kimlin et al., (1998) developed a technique to determine the distribution of UV exposure to the face and the UV exposure per unit area of the face using only 8 polysulphone dosimeters located over the face.

Ultraviolet protective measures for humans, such as hats, sunscreens and shade areas are all promoted by health promotion authorities as essential measures to reduce human UV exposure. Previous investigations have determined the effectiveness of various types of hats. Diffey and Chesseman (1992) found that the style and shape of the hat determines the protective capability of the various types of hats and the shape of the hat determines which facial sites receive the best ultraviolet protection. Wong et al., (1996) found that the protection factor for various hats in the southern hemisphere (as opposed to Diffey and Cheeseman’s northern hemisphere) was between 6 and 2 for various areas of the face. However, there is a lack of scientific quantitative data on the protective capability of hats under cloudy conditions compared to clear sky conditions. This paper presents the results on the effectiveness of hats to prevent UV exposure to facial areas during cloudy conditions compared to clear conditions.

2. MATERIALS AND METHODS

2.1 Polysulphone Dosimeters
Polysulphone film (Diffey, 1989) was used to measure UV exposures to specific sites. The film was cast on a specially constructed casting table fabricated at the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) using a technique similar to Kimlin et al., (1998). The polysulphone film was placed into a 25 mm x 25 mm holder with a 12 mm central aperture and the pre and post exposure optical absorbency was measured at 330 nm in a spectrophotometer (Shimadzu Co., Kyoto, Japan). To ensure the reproducibility of the optical absorbency measurements a special dosimeter holder for the spectrophotometer was constructed by the physics workshop at USQ. This holder allows reproducible results as the polysulphone dosimeter is mounted in the same position with respect to the spectrophotometer beam for each measurement time.

The polysulphone was calibrated against a calibrated spectroradiometer (Wong et al 1995) with the erythemal UV exposure, UVery calculated using:

(1)

where A(l ) is the erythemal action spectrum (CIE, 1987), S(l ) is the spectral irradiance and T is the exposure period.

2.2 Erythemal Exposures

A rotating base with four upright human headforms was used to model random movements of a human in an upright position. Each head form, as shown in Figure 1, was located approximately 1 meter from other neighbouring headforms and this distance was selected to minimise the effect of reflections from the other headforms. Airey et al (1995) and Holman et al (1983) have compared human UV exposures to that of head forms and body forms and found that UV exposures to manikins can be related to human UV exposure. The headforms were rotated on a portable rotating base at a speed of approximately 1 revolution per minute in an open unshaded area, 50m from the nearest trees and buildings. The area was covered in grass with an albedo of approximately 3% at 60 cm from ground level as measured with a hand held erythemal UV meter. The albedo was calculated as the ratio of the upward and downward erythemal UV irradiance levels as measured with an erythemal UV meter (Model 3D V2.0, Solar Light Co., Philadelphia, PA).

In this paper, only the upright position of the headform is employed and no other head tilt positions are considered. Polysulphone dosimeters were placed at 16 sites on the headform, namely: vertex of the head, forehead, nose, chin, left cheek, left ear, right cheek, right ear, upper front neck, lower front neck, left neck, right neck, left shoulder, right shoulder, rear upper neck and rear lower neck. Sixteen dosimeters were selected so as to obtain a more accurate assessment of the UV distribution over the human face as the human face has a complicated topography and the high number of dosimeters used provides a better picture of the UV distribution of the human facial UV exposure.

These experiments were conducted at a sub-tropical southern hemisphere latitude in Toowoomba (27.5 oS, 151.9 oE), Queensland, Australia. The erythemal exposures were measured in autumn between 22nd April, 1999 to 28th May 1999 from 09:00 Australian Eastern Standard Time (EST) to 12:00 EST and in one hour intervals from 09:00 EST to 12:00 EST. To assess the effect of cloud cover, experiment periods were divided into two distinct cloud groups: firstly, no cloud or total clear sky conditions and secondly total cloud cover as determined visually by an observer with the solar disk obscured. The experiments with total cloud cover had the solar disk completely covered with cloud of the strato-cumulus cloud type. The average solar zenith angle for the measurement period was 46.6 and 21.5 for 09:00 EST and 12:00 EST respectively.

The three types of hats used in this study were a peaked cap, a broad brimmed woven hat and a broad brimmed "soft" hat. These will be referred to as hats 1, 2 and 3 respectively (Figure 1). These hats were selected for this study as they are worn by local schoolchildren. Figure 1 shows the shape and style of each of the hats. Hat 1 has a brim size of 7 cm, hat 2 has a brim size of 8 cm while hat 3 has a brim size of 7.5 cm and all are mounted at an angle between 12 and 18 to the forehead. The differing brim angles are due to the construction of the hats, where the brims are fixed to the crown of the hat at an angle. The rotating platform as shown in Figure 1 was designed so that 3 headforms with hats and 1 headform without a hat to act as a control could be exposed to solar UV simultaneously.

2.3 Ultraviolet Protection Factor

The ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) was calculated for each facial site as follows (Gies et al., 1992):

UPF = (UV Exposure without a hat)/(UV exposure with a hat) (2)

Figure 1 – Rotating platform with the hats used in this study




3. RESULTS

3.1 Erythemal Exposures
The results of the relative UV exposure (compared to the vertex of the head) of an upright headform without a hat in clear sky conditions between 09:00 and 12:00 EST are shown in Table 1. The results gained in this experiment are generally within the limits of other researchers, although these experiments were undertaken at different times of the day and year as well as different locations. Any differences may be due to different locations and atmospheric conditions. The vertex of the head received the highest exposure followed by the forehead, nose, cheeks, lower front neck and the shoulders. The approximate error of the measurements using the polysulphone film is of the order of 10% (Diffey, 1987).

Table 1 – Relative UV exposure to selected anatomical locations without a hat


    Present Work Wong et al., (1992) Diffey et al., (1979) Gies et al., (1988)
  Date: Autumn Winter Summer Winter
  Place: Toowoomba, Australia Brisbane, Australia Canterbury, England Yallambie, Australia
  Latitude: 27.5 S 27 S 51 N 38 S
  Elevation of sun:  21.5 - 46.6 17 -46 46 -55  
Position          
Vertex  

100

100

100

100

Forehead  

70

54

21-59

72

Nose  

76

47

19-66

74-77

Chin  

48

     
Left Cheek  

51

42

14-50

62-63

Right Cheek  

50

42

14-50

62-63

Left Ear  

33

     
Right Ear  

35

     
Upper Front Neck  

55

     
Lower Front Neck  

64

     
Left Neck  

31

     
Right Neck  

32

     
Left Shoulder  

50

     
Right Shoulder  

49

     
Rear Upper Neck  

41

     
Rear Lower Neck  

39

     

The erythemal UV exposure for various facial anatomical locations for clear and cloudy conditions from 09:00 to 12:00 EST is shown in Table 2 with 1 MED defined as 20 mJ.cm-2 (Diffey, 1992) and is the amount of biologically effective UV required to produce barely perceptible erythema after an interval of 8 to 24h following UV exposure. Table 2 also shows the effectiveness of hats 1, 2 and 3 under cloudy and clear sky conditions. The ambient UV level (as recorded on the vertex of the head with no hat) on the cloudy day was reduced by the cloud. The wearing of a hat does reduce the UV exposure to the face, but it is dependent on the type of hat used. Also the distribution of the UV under cloudy conditions changes when compared to clear sky conditions.

Table 2 – Erythemal UV exposures using hats 1, 2 and 3 to various facial anatomical locations for clear and cloudy conditions


Erythemal UV (MED)

Site

No Hat (Cloudy) 

No Hat (Clear)

Hat 1 (Cloudy)

Hat 1 (Clear)

Hat 2 (Cloudy)

Hat 2 (Clear)

Hat 3 (Cloudy)

Hat 3 (Clear)

Vertex

6.1

11.1

0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.0

Forehead

5.1

4.8

0.3

0.4

0.0

0.0

0.1

0.0

Nose

4.8

5.4

0.9

1.4

0.8

2.6

1.2

0.6

Chin

2.3

5.5

2.0

3.4

2.1

3.3

2.5

2.0

Left Cheek

2.2

1.3

1.6

1.2

2.7

2.2

0.8

1.8

Right Cheek

2.2

1.6

1.5

0.5

3.0

2.7

0.7

1.6

Left Ear

3.2

3.5

1.9

1.9

1.7

3.4

0.4

1.6

Right Ear

3.0

3.3

2.0

0.8

1.7

3.2

0.7

1.4

Upper Front Neck

4.0

3.1

2.3

2.9

1.9

2.8

1.4

1.0

Lower Front Neck

4.1

5.8

3.4

3.6

4.3

3.5

3.0

1.5

Left Neck

5.8

5.3

2.8

3.0

2.2

0.6

2.1

1.0

Right Neck

4.7

4.7

2.6

0.5

2.6

1.9

2.2

1.3

Left Shoulder

6.5

6.7

5.3

5.4

3.6

1.4

3.5

3.7

Right Shoulder

5.8

6.6

5.2

5.3

3.5

6.1

3.5

4.8

Rear Upper Neck

3.1

4.8

3.1

4.1

2.9

2.3

1.4

0.8

Rear Lower Neck

2.0

3.2

1.4

2.6

2.5

1.9

1.8

2.0


 

The removal of the direct UV component from the sun by cloud cover increases the percentage of the diffuse component of the UV (Blumthaler et al., 1994). UV protective devices, such as hats, rely on the interception of the direct component of UV to reduce the UV exposure. If the ratio of the diffuse to direct component increases, the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of the hat decreases.

The average UV exposure to the facial sites (forehead, nose, chin, left and right cheek, left and right ear) show that the exposures received, even in cloudy conditions and while wearing a hat can be high. For example, hat 2 had an average facial exposure of 2.5 MED while using the hat in sunny conditions between 09:00 EST to 12:00 EST, but in cloudy conditions with the same hat and time interval, the face received an average exposure of 1.7 MED. This suggests that although hats are effective UV protective devices, other UV protective strategies must be used in conjunction with the hat to ensure minimal UV exposure.

Table 3 shows the UPF for each of the hats used in this study in clear and cloudy conditions. The data in Table 3, shows the UPF’s averaged over all anatomical site’s for each of the three hats. The average UPF for each hat decreases with cloud cover. Hat 1 (the peaked cap) has the lowest average UPF of all hats (UPF = 2.5 for cloudy and a UPF of 3.2 for sunny) in this study. This result is to be expected, as the cap offers little or no protection to the ears, side of neck and rear neck when compared to hats 2 and 3.

Table 3 - The UPF of each hat in clear and cloudy conditions.

UPF (Cloudy, Hat #1)

UPF (Clear, Hat #1)

UPF (Cloudy,

Hat #2)

UPF (Clear, Hat #2)

UPF (Cloudy, 

Hat #3)

UPF (Clear, Hat #3)

All measurement site average

2.5

3.2

4.9

5.5

5.6

6.4

4.0 DISCUSSION
The effect of cloud cover on the UPF of 3 types of hats used by schoolchildren in Queensland was measured in this study and it was found that the ultraviolet protection factor of all hats used in this study decreased under cloud. In the research, the relative ultraviolet radiation exposure of various facial sites at a sub-tropical southern hemisphere location during autumn was determined. A reduction in the UPF averaged over all sites of 22%, 11% and 13% compared to clear conditions for hats 1, 2 and 3 respectively occurred when the hats were worn in cloudy conditions. Not only did the UPF of the hats decrease under cloudy conditions, but the distribution of UV also changed. This meant that the protective capabilities of hats (which rely on interception of the direct component of UV) is reduced. In cloudy conditions, the average UV exposure to the facial measurement sites was 1.7 MED from 09:00 EST to 12:00 EST for hat 2 compared to an exposure of 2.5 MED for the same hat in the full sun. Further studies into the effect of cloud type on the UPF of hats may be required in the future. Although hats overall have a lower UPF in cloudy conditions, they are a good and practical UV protective device, especially when combined with sunscreen usage and other UV protective strategies.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors would like to thank Mr Ken Mottram, Mr Grahame Holmes and Mr Oliver Kinder from physics at USQ for their technical assistance in this project. The authors would also like to thank the USQ Perpetual Trustees Fund for a grant to purchase the spectrophotometer used in this project.

REFERENCES
Airey, D.K., Wong, J.C.F. & Fleming, R.A. 1995, "A comparison of human- and headform- based measurements of solar ultraviolet B dose," Photodermatology, Photoimmunology and Photomedicine, vol.11, no.4, pp.155-158.

Blumthaler, M., Ambach, W. & Salzgeber, M. 1994, "Effects of cloudiness on global and diffuse UV irradiance in a high-mountain area," Theoretical and Applied Climatology, vol.50, pp.23-30.

CIE (International Commission on Illumination) Research Note 1987, "A reference action spectrum for ultraviolet induced erythema in human skin," CIE J. vol. 6, pp.17-22.

Diffey, B.L., Tate, T.J. & Davis, A. 1979, "Solar dosimetry of the face: the relationship of natural ultraviolet radiation exposure to basal cell carcinoma localisation," Physics in Medicine and Biology, vol.24, pp.931-939.

Diffey, B.L. 1987, "A comparison of dosimeters used for solar ultraviolet radiometry," Photochemistry and Photobiology, vol.46, pp.55-60.

Diffey, B.L. 1989, "Ultraviolet radiation dosimetry with polysulphone film," in Radiation Measurement in Photobiology, ed. B.L. Diffey, pp.136-159, Academic Press, New York.

Diffey, B.L. 1992, "Stratospheric ozone depletion and the risk of non-melanoma skin cancer in a British population," Physics in Medicine and Biology, vol.37, no.12, pp.2267-2279.

Diffey, B.L. & Cheeseman, J. 1992, "Sun protection with hats," British Journal of Dermatology, vol.127, pp.10-12.

Gies, P., Roy, C. & Elliot, G. 1988, "The anatomical distribution of solar UVR with emphasis on the eye," Proc. 7th Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association, vol.1, 10-17th April, pp.341-344.

Gies, H.P., Roy, C.R. & Zongli, W. 1992, "Ultraviolet Radiation Protection Factors for Clear and Tinted Automobile Windscreens," Radiation Protection in Australia, vol.10, no.4, pp.91-94.

Holman, C.D.J., Gibson, I.M., Stephenson, M. & Armstrong, B.K. 1983, "Ultraviolet irradiation of human body sites in relation to occupation and outdoor activity: field studies using personal UVR dosimeters," Clinical and Experimental Dermatology, vol.8, pp.269-277.

Kimlin, M.G., Parisi, A.V. & Wong, J.C.F. 1998, "The facial distribution of erythemal ultraviolet exposure in south east Queensland," Physics in Medicine and Biology, vol.43, no.2, pp.231-240.

Rosenthal, F.S., West, S.K., Munoz, B., Emmett, E.A., Strickland, P.T. & Taylor, H.R. 1991, "Ocular and facial skin exposure to ultraviolet radiation in sunlight: a Personal exposure model with application to a worker population," Health Physics, vol.61(1), pp.77-86.

Wong, C.F., Fleming, R.A., Carter, S.J., Ring, I.T. & Vishvakarman, D. 1992, "Measurement of human exposure to ultraviolet-B solar radiation using a CR-39 dosimeter," Health Physics, vol.63, no.4, pp.457-461.

Wong, C.F., Toomey, S., Fleming, R.A. & Thomas, B.W. 1995, "UV-B radiometry and dosimetry for solar measurements," Health Physics, vol.68, no.2, pp.175-184.

Wong, C.F., Airey, D.K. & Fleming, R. 1996, "Annual reduction of solar UV exposure to the facial area of outdoor workers in Southeast Queensland by wearing a hat," Photodermatology, Photoimmunology and Photomedicine, vol.12, pp.131-135.