Investigating erythemal UV exposure and vitamin D production in the urban canyon

McKinley, Alex R. (2008) Investigating erythemal UV exposure and vitamin D production in the urban canyon. Masters by Research thesis, Queensland University of Technology.


Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) results in both damaging and beneficial health outcomes. Excessive UV exposure has been linked to many skin and eye problems, but moderate exposure induces vitamin D production. It has been reported that humans receive 90-95% of their vitamin D from production that starts after UV exposure. Although it is possible to acquire vitamin D through dietary supplementation, the average person receives very little in this manner. Therefore, since most people acquire their vitamin D from synthesis after exposure to UV from sunlight, it is very important to understand the different environments in which people encounter UV. This project measured UV radiation and in-vitro vitamin D production in the urban canyon and at a nearby suburban location. The urban canyon is an environment consisting of tall buildings and tropospheric air pollution, which have an attenuating effect on UV. Typically, UV measurements are collected in areas outside the urban canyon, meaning that at times studies and public recommendations do not accurately represent the amount of UV reaching street-level in highly urbanized areas. Understanding of UV exposure in urban canyons becomes increasingly important as the number of people working and living in large cities steadily increases worldwide. This study was conducted in the central business district (CBD) of Brisbane, Australia, which models the urban canyons of large cities around the world in that it boasts a great number of tall buildings, including many skyscrapers, meaning that most areas only see a small amount of direct sunlight each day. During the winter of 2007 measurements of UV radiation and in-vitro vitamin D production were collected in the CBD and at a suburban site approximately 2.5km outside the CBD. Air pollution data was obtained from a central CBD measurement site. Data analysis showed that urban canyon measurements of both UV radiation and in-vitro vitamin D production were significantly lower than those collected at the suburban site. These results will aid both future researchers and policy makers in better understanding human UV exposure in Brisbane’s CBD and other urban canyons around the world.

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ID Code: 26381
Item Type: QUT Thesis (Masters by Research)
Supervisor: Kimlin, Michael, Janda, Monika, & Moore, Michael
Keywords: human health, sun, urban canyon, UV, vitamin D
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Schools > School of Public Health & Social Work
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 16 Jul 2009 04:36
Last Modified: 28 Oct 2011 19:53

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