Individual exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) is challenging to measure, particularly for diseases with substantial latency periods between first exposure and diagnosis of outcome, such as cancer. To guide the choice of surrogates for long-term UVR exposure in epidemiologic studies, we assessed how well stable sun-related individual characteristics and environmental/meteorological factors predicted daily personal UVR exposure measurements.
We evaluated 123 United States Radiologic Technologists subjects who wore personal UVR dosimeters for 8 hours daily for up to 7 days (N = 837 days). Potential predictors of personal UVR derived from a self-administered questionnaire, and public databases that provided daily estimates of ambient UVR and weather conditions. Factors potentially related to personal UVR exposure were tested individually and in a model including all significant variables.
The strongest predictors of daily personal UVR exposure in the full model were ambient UVR, latitude, daily rainfall, and skin reaction to prolonged sunlight (R2 = 0.30). In a model containing only environmental and meteorological variables, ambient UVR, latitude, and daily rainfall were the strongest predictors of daily personal UVR exposure (R2 = 0.25).
In the absence of feasible measures of individual longitudinal sun exposure history, stable personal characteristics, ambient UVR, and weather parameters may help estimate long-term personal UVR exposure.