Exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation in young Dutch children: assessment by means of a 6-week retrospective questionnaire

F. Termorshuizen, A. Wijga, J. Garssen, P.N. den Outer, H. Slaper, H. van Loveren

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Abstract

Exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation in young Dutch children: assessment by means of a 6-week retrospective questionnaire.

Termorshuizen F, Wijga A, Garssen J, Den Outer PN, Slaper H, Van Loveren H.

Laboratory for Pathology and Immunobiology, National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, PO Box 1, Bilthoven 3720 BA, The Netherlands.

We designed a 6-week retrospective questionnaire on sunlight exposure. Estimation of the short-term exposure to sunlight is important for observational human studies concerning the effects of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) on the human immune system and related resistance to infections. This questionnaire was given to the parents of 1672 1-year-old children in the Netherlands who participated in a birth cohort study. We evaluated the questionnaire and estimated the personal 6-week cumulative exposure to solar UVR. Only 910 questionnaires (54.4%) were filled out completely and consistently. This suggests that reporting data on children's outdoor exposure, even for the recent past, is often difficult. The data from these questionnaires indicated that the crude number of reported outdoor hours was enough to obtain a relative estimate of the individual exposure to ambient UVR, but that weighting for the effect of clothing was essential for the classification of the systemic UVR dosage received. Sunny weeks in the Netherlands in 1998, as were established by independent measurements of the levels of ambient UVR, vacations abroad, and sunburn, were associated with a comparatively high mean estimated exposure. These results support the suitability of the questionnaire for classifying the participants with respect to their short-term exposure to solar UVR.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)204-213
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology
Volume12
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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