Ultraviolet radiation lies between wavelengths of about 400 nanometres (1 nanometre [nm] is 10−9 metre) on the visible-light side and about 10 nm on the X-ray side, though some authorities extend the short-wavelength limit to 4 nm. Persons of light complexion have less melanin pigment and so experience the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation to a greater degree. Learn how your comment data is processed. The German physicist Johann Wilhelm Ritter, having learned of Herschel’s discovery of infrared waves, looked beyond the violet end of the visible spectrum of the Sun and found (in 1801) that there exist invisible rays that darken silver chloride even more…, Life could not exist on Earth without light from the Sun.

While regular physical activity is associated with a reduced risk of most cancers, skin cancer is an exception.

https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety/health-effects-uv-radiation, UVA rays- These rays have the least energy among UV rays and constitute around 95% of all UV radiation that reaches the earth’s surface. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is undetectable by the human eye, although, when it falls on certain materials, it may cause them to fluoresce—i.e., emit electromagnetic radiation of lower energy, such as visible light.

Sun protection in these groups is especially important as multiple studies demonstrate an elevated risk of skin cancer for those who regularly participate in outdoor sports or exercise. Change ).

Plants utilize the energy of the Sun’s rays in the process of photosynthesis to produce carbohydrates and proteins, which serve as basic organic sources of food and energy for animals.

When outside, try to come to shade frequently to prevent long interrupted hours in the sun, Protect skin with clothing that covers arms and legs. Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation that comes from the sun and man-made sources like tanning beds. Ultraviolet radiation also has positive effects on the human body, however. Researches show that 90% of skin cancers are caused by UV rays. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Ultraviolet radiation, that portion of the electromagnetic spectrum extending from the violet, or short-wavelength, end of the visible light range to the X-ray region. They have longer wavelength (320-400nm) and cause skin cells to age and can cause some indirect damage to cells’ DNA. Human skin makes Vitamin D when it is exposed to UV rays from the sun.

Omissions? It stimulates the production of vitamin D in the skin and can be used as a therapeutic agent for such diseases as psoriasis. Some of the major dangers associated with too much exposure to X-rays include the following: Being exposed to X-rays can be dangerous to our cells and tissues. Ultraviolet waves can cause damage to skin cells and eyes, and increase the risk of skin cancer ; X-rays and gamma rays can cause the mutation of genes, which can lead to cancer

This article was most recently revised and updated by, https://www.britannica.com/science/ultraviolet-radiation, Health Physics Society - Ultraviolet Radiation, ultraviolet radiation - Student Encyclopedia (Ages 11 and up). ( Log Out / 


Our Sun puts off light at all the different wavelengths in electromagnetic spectrum, but it is ultraviolet waves that are responsible for causing our sunburns. Our current concerns with UV radiation are the rays that come from the sun. This decreases our atmosphere’s natural protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The direct effects include reddening of the skin (sunburn), pigmentation development (suntan), aging, and carcinogenic changes. Change ), You are commenting using your Facebook account.

UV radiation is divided into 3 main types: Although there are several negative effects of UV rays on the body, there is one positive impact. It is also produced by electric arcs and specialized lights, such as mercury-vapor lamps, tanning lamps, and black lights. When these cells die, the pigmentation disappears. Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Change ), You are commenting using your Twitter account.

They are mainly linked to long-term skin damage such as wrinkles but may also play a role in some skin cancers, UVB rays- These rays have slightly more energy than UVA rays as they have shorter wavelengths (290-320nm). The three basic skin cancers, basal- and squamous-cell carcinoma and melanoma, have been linked to long-term exposure to ultraviolet radiation and probably result from changes generated in the DNA of skin cells by ultraviolet rays. These are the classifications most often used in Earth sciences. Several major health problems, such as skin cancer(melanoma and nonmelanoma), premature aging, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression, all result from overexposure to these harmful rays. Although long-wavelength ultraviolet is not considered an i… electromagnetic radiation: Ultraviolet radiation. UV rays can positively impact athletes, but only on a small scale.

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Tanning is a natural body defense relying on melanin to help protect the skin from further injury. According to scientists, exposure to X-rays can easily damage our delicate cells and tissues. The main danger of UV radiation exposure is a risk factor for skin cancer. ( Log Out /  If you continue to use this site we will assume that you are happy with it. There is also a much higher frequency of skin cancer, particularly in persons with fair skin. Get exclusive access to content from our 1768 First Edition with your subscription. This decreases our atmosphere’s natural protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation.

UV-B rays are the harmful rays that cause sunburn. Melanin is a chemical pigment in the skin that absorbs ultraviolet radiation and limits its penetration into tissues.

Fortunately, because of this, they react with ozone at the atmosphere and don’t usually reach the ground, so they are not normally a risk factor for any diseases. Over the past couple decades, humans have been using products which result in ozone layer depletion. Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. The German physicist Johann Wilhelm Ritter, having learned of Herschel’s discovery of infrared waves, looked beyond the violet end of the... One of the first images taken by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory's Extreme-Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope. They can damage the DNA in skin cells directly, and are the main rays that cause sunburns. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website.

Many insects, however, are able to see ultraviolet radiation.

Is All Leather Vegan? Learn how sunscreen protects human skin from ultraviolet radiation. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve this article (requires login).

However, the level at which the rays influence vitamin D synthesis is largely unknown as it is dependent on other factors such as age, darkness of skin, and intensity of sunlight and can vary across several groups of people. Several major health problems, such as skin cancer (melanoma and nonmelanoma), premature aging, cataracts and other eye damage, and immune system suppression, all result from overexposure to these harmful rays. By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. The main symptoms are increased tearing, photophobia, swelling of the corneal epithelium, blepharospasm. UV rays damage the DNA of skin cells and cancers start developing when the damage affects the DNA of genes controlling skin cell growth. For example, studies have shown that UVB radiation penetrates the ocean’s surface and may be lethal to marine plankton to a depth of 30 metres (about 100 feet) in clear water. Unlike X-rays, ultraviolet radiation has a low power of penetration; hence, its direct effects on the human body are limited to the surface skin.

This vitamin not only assists in growth and maintenance of the bone, but it also aids in regulation of electrolyte metabolism, protein synthesis, gene expression, and immune function which is why it is largely important to athletes, ranging from hikers, to tennis players and runners. Some of the many dangers of ultraviolet Radiation or UV rays would be that you can develop skin cancer and possibly die. Ultraviolet sunburns can be mild, causing only redness and tenderness, or they can be so severe as to produce blisters, swelling, seepage of fluid, and sloughing of the outer skin.

UVC rays- These have more energy than the other types of UV rays with the shortest wavelengths (200-290nm). It’s not possible to avoid sunlight completely, but there are ways to help ensure that people don’t get too exposure to UV rays: In doing so, people can enjoy the sun and ensure that they don’t develop any life threatening conditions. In physics, ultraviolet radiation is traditionally divided into four regions: near (400–300 nm), middle (300–200 nm), far (200–100 nm), and extreme (below 100 nm).

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Ultraviolet radiation is produced by high-temperature surfaces, such as the Sun, in a continuous spectrum and by atomic excitation in a gaseous discharge tube as a discrete spectrum of wavelengths.

Uv light can be used to disinfect surfaces. Based on the interaction of wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation with biological materials, three divisions have been designated: UVA (400–315 nm), also called black light; UVB (315–280 nm), responsible for the radiation’s best-known effects on organisms; and UVC (280–100 nm), which does not reach Earth’s surface. Updates? Some of the many dangers of ultraviolet Radiation or UV rays would be that you can develop skin cancer and possibly die. Sources: https://www.epa.gov/sunsafety/health-effects-uv-radiation, sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/08/190830115553.htm.

Constant exposure to the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation induces most of the skin changes commonly associated with aging, such as wrinkling, thickening, and changes in pigmentation. Light has…. Articles from Britannica Encyclopedias for elementary and high school students. Most of the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight is absorbed by oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere, which forms the ozone layer of the lower stratosphere. Ultraviolet (UV) is a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelength from 10 nm (with a corresponding frequency of approximately 30 PHz) to 400 nm (750 THz), shorter than that of visible light but longer than X-rays. Your email address will not be published. Long exposure or high intensities of UV hurts the eyes tissues and causes a ‘burning’ of the eye, called ‘snow blindness’. The application of sunscreen to the skin can help to block absorption of ultraviolet radiation in such persons. Because of its bactericidal capabilities at wavelengths of 260–280 nm, ultraviolet radiation is useful as both a research tool and a sterilizing technique.

In addition, marine scientists have suggested that a rise in UVB levels in the Southern Ocean between 1970 and 2003 was strongly linked to a simultaneous decline in fish, krill, and other marine life.