FAQ – Ultraviolet (Non Ionising) Radiation

(Including sources such as tanning salon apparatus and the sun.)

The following information has been supplied by the Department of Health’s Radiation Health Branch. It is relevant for people that may have questions about the guidelines on the exposure of ultraviolet radiation and the related health effects on humans.

 

Does Western Australia have guidelines for the use of ultraviolet radiation?: 

Yes, for occupational health effects associated with ultraviolet radiation (UV). In Western Australia we are guided by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) publication (RHS 29):

Occupational standard for exposure to ultraviolet radiation (1989).

The guidelines recommend limits of exposure with spectral weighting functions across the wavelengths of UV including the near-ultraviolet UV-A spectral region (315-400nm) and the actinic spectral region (UV-C and UV-B from 180-315nm).

Are there restricted types of equipment that produces ultraviolet radiation?: 

Yes. At present UV producing transilluminator equipment is required to be registered in Western Australia. Please see Transilluminators for further information on the specific requirements.

What is the current scientific opinion about health effects from ultraviolet radiation?: 

Research into ultraviolet radiation is on-going, however there is considerable data available to establish various health effects from the results of ultraviolet radiation exposure to humans.  These include both non-stochastic health effects such as erythema (skin-burn) and cataracts (eye); and also include stochastic effects such as the possibility of skin cancer. The Radiological Council of Western Australia continually monitors world research and international opinion in this topic.

Where is a good starting point to find more information on the health effects from sources of ultraviolet radiation such as a tanning salon (solarium) or the sun?:  For more information on current research on solar ultraviolet radiation in Australia and around the world you can visit the Australian Radiation Protection & Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) website or alternatively the World Health Organisation (WHO) website.

 

For those interested in the health issues surrounding ultraviolet tanning appliances used for cosmetic purposes (solaria), the WHO website contains a summary PDF document about this topic that is available for download.  The International Commission for Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) web site also has summary information on this topic.

 

If further information is required, please contact a Radiological Council officer on 9346 2260.