Support Group for Sun Sensitive People
Does shopping make you ill? It may be from the fluorescent lighting in the store - those long rectangular boxes with tube lights inside them. People with lupus are most known for being sensitive to indoor lighting like fluorescent or other lighting in large warehouse type stores, but other people with sun sensitivity (photosensitivity) can also be sensitive to UV rays from lighting. In particular, people with Xeroderma Pigmentosum must totally avoid all forms of ultraviolet light. With lupus, UV can trigger flares, rashes, itching, low grade fevers and cause muscle and joint pain. Other folks describe the effects of UV lighting as giving them a "whoozy" feeling and makes them feel nauseous or fatigued. A two hour shopping spree in Walmart is equivalent to a full hour in the sun. You don't get sunburned but you do get the full hour of UV rays. [Sewell] Hospitals and clinics also use very bright fluorescent lighting. Other sources of UV radiation is from copiers, computer screens, welding, and various kinds of lighting.
Protect yourself from indoor UV radiation by using the same techniques as you would for the sun outside: sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, gloves. etc. See the Sunscreen web page for more on sunscreens. (For example, my doctor's office has really bright fluorescent lights that make me feel sick. Now that I wear my hat and sunglasses and sunscreen inside the clinic, I no longer feel sick inside the clinic. ) You can also remove sources of UV radiation such as fluorescent lighting and replacing them with incandescent bulbs or adding UV shields to existing lighting. If you work in a place with UV lighting that you can't avoid, consider wearing sunscreens with high UVB and UVA protection as well as light colored sunglasses that block out UV rays.
Computer screens also give off small amounts of UV radiation. Most people are not affected by it, but people with lupus or other photo sensitivities should take precautions. Especially if you are in front of the screen for long periods of time (more than an hour at a time, for days in a row).
The best thing you can purchase to help eliminate the problem is a monitor anti-glare screen that fits over the monitor itself. It knocks down the glare as well as blocks the UV rays. 3M company makes several different kinds. [Sewell]
3M Standard Glass Monitor Filter fits 16-19 CRT
Newer thin or flat panel computer monitors and all laptop/notebook computer screens are Liquid Crystal type displays (LCDs). Televisions are now available with screens using both LCD and plasma technology. Neither should be confused with the similar-sounding term: "flat screen" which almost always are CRTs (see above) that have a flat screen face. The XP Society attempted to measure UV that might be radiated from LCD screens. They were unable to detect any UVA or UVB using meters capable of measuring as low as 1 microwatt per square centimeter in the UVA and UVB spectrum. [XP UV notes]
Most incandescent lamps (normal light bulbs) have a very low UV radiation content, but fluorescent, high intensity discharge, and halogen lights can all give off UV radiation. You can purchase filters to make lighting safer or replace lighting with incandescent lighting. Other sources of UV radiation can include copy machines, welding, tanning lamps and more. The objective is minimize ultraviolet radiation in your home or workplace.
Fluorescent filters to reduce UV radiation from lighting:
You can purchase filters to reduce UV radiation from lighting. Companies like http://www.naturalux.com/ sell fluorescent light fixture filters to block UV rays.
Fluorescent light filters claim to block more than 99% of UV-A, UV-B and UV-C, but only goes up to 380 nm (not 400 nm). http://www.ergomart.com/FLUORESCENT_LIGHT_FILTERS/filters.htm
|Incandescent lights (mostly safe from
Most incandescent lamps (normal light bulbs) have a very low UV radiation content. Incandescent lights have most light in the red part of the visible light spectrum (away from the UV, greens and blue which cause most photosensitive reactions).
High Intensity Discharge (HID) lamps:
Other sources of UV radiation:
Tanning lamps, emit mostly UV-A radiation with a few percent content of UV-B. Use of tanning lamps and beds can lead to significant exposures to UV-A radiation. Avoid tanning lamps.[ Artificial Ultraviolet Radiation]
Phototherapy and sun lamps are used by physicians to treat various skin conditions including photosensitivity conditions. Because we are already extremely sun sensitive, these can be very dangerous to us. Be sure to tell your doctor that you are extremely sun sensitive, or you could end up in the emergency room. These lamps much be used with great care and under controlled conditions. The treatment exposure times with UV-B last typically less than a minute because longer exposure times can lead to skin damage.
Electric welding -very strong radiation.
Arc lamps used in some specialized projection and illumination systems, and in the printing industry, can also be strong sources of ultraviolet radiation.
Curing lamps use UVR to harden resins and to dry paints and other substances, including dental resins.
In graphic art facilities, arc lamps or tungsten halogen lamps are used to make negatives and photo offset press plates. The glass platens will usually eliminate UVB or UVC radiations from the lamp.
"Black lights" are UV-A lamps used for non-destructive testing, insect control, and in the entertainment industry. Pretty safe, unless exposure of the eyes at close range takes place.
Germicidal lamps with low pressure mercury lamps are commonly used for sterilization in hospitals, and they can be capable of producing serious exposure to UVR at close range without shielding.
room lamps found in hospitals or dental operatories are designed to reduce the
infrared loading to the patient and focus the visible light radiation.
The glass over the surgical spotlight filters out UVB and UVC radiations.
The phototherapy units for newborn infants who have hyperbilirubinemia use special blue lights which may produce UV radiation. It is important that plastic or glass filters be used to protect the infant from UVB radiation.
Ultraviolet lasers are used for medical and industrial applications can be quite intense and hazardous.
Fluorescent light photosensitivity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus.
Rihner M, McGrath H Jr., Arthritis Rheum. 1992 Aug;35(8):949-52.
Department of Medicine, Louisiana State University Medical Center, New Orleans 70112.
OBJECTIVE. To determine the prevalence of fluorescent light toxicity in patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). METHODS. SLE patients were polled about their symptomatic responses to sunlight and cool white fluorescent light. Photometry was used to determine the levels of ultraviolet (UV) emissions from fluorescent lamps. RESULTS. Thirteen of 30 photosensitive SLE patients described increases in disease activity following exposure to unshielded fluorescent lamps. Photometry indicated that these lamps emit substantial levels of UV-B (280-320 nm) radiation, which is toxic to patients with SLE. Standard acrylic diffusers absorbed this radiation, and their use was associated with almost no patient-reported problems. CONCLUSION. Fluorescent lamps, emitting UV-B radiation, induce disease activity in photosensitive SLE patients. Standard acrylic diffusers absorb UV-B radiation and appear to be protective against induction of disease activity with the use of fluorescent lamps.
[Sewell] Sewell, Brenda "Rion" , Lupus, the Sun, and UV Rays
[Navy] Ultraviolet Radiation Guide, Navy Environmental Health Center, April 1992
What is Ultraviolet Radiation?, Saskatchewan Labour Ultraviolet Radiation
UVR from Fluorescent Lamps, British Health Protection Agency, [Ultraviolet Radiation from Fluorescent Lamps] This article lists UVA and UVB radiation emitted from fluorescent lights.
[XP UV notes] Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation as it Relates to XP, Xeroderma Pigmentosum Society, http://www.xps.org/uvnotes.htm