Rationalizing Nomenclature for UV Doses and Effects on Humans

CIE 209:2014
Division 6

The field of atmospheric ultraviolet radiation (UV) research is plagued with difficulties in nomenclature. The problems arise from (a) the strong wavelength dependence of UV radiation received at the Earth’s surface, (b) the ad-hoc way disparate groups have approached the subject and (c) the incorrect use of units when action spectra for different UV effects are incorporated. This report highlights some of the issues, taking vitamin-D synthesis, a beneficial effect, as a specific example. Standard vitamin-D dose (SDD) and minimum vitamin-D dose (MDD) are proposed, analogous to the standard erythema dose (SED) and minimum erythema dose (MED) that are in common use for erythema. In recognition of the fact that currently accepted action spectra may be revised in future if new data become available, it is recommended that spectrally resolved irradiance measurements are maintained and continued so that biologically effective irradiances and doses may be reprocessed.
The joint publication of CIE and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is written in English, with a short summary in French and German. It consists of 20 pages with 3 figures and 1 table and is readily available for free download on the CIE website.

The following members of JTC 3 “Rationalizing UV Units“ took part in the preparation of this Technical Report. The JTC is a joint venture between CIE and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The committee comes under Division 6 “Photobiology and Photochemistry”, the corresponding body at WMO is the Scientific Advisory Group for UV Solar Radiation (SAG-UV).

  • McKenzie, R. New Zealand   (Chair)
  • Blumthaler, M. Austria
  • Diaz, S. Argentina
  • Fioletov, V. Canada
  • Herman, J. USA
  • Seckmeyer, G. Germany
  • Smedley, A. United Kingdom
  • Webb, A. United Kingdom