9 Facts About Ultraviolet Radiation You May Not Have Known

ultraviolet radiation ultraviolet rays uv rays uva uvb uvc uvr

9 facts about ultraviolet rays
We have all heard about "UV rays" or "Ultraviolet rays", that they come from the sun, that they might be damaging to our skin, etc. But we all love soaking up the sun, too, don't we? The sun has been around longer than we have, so what's the big deal? How bad can it be?
Well, like most things in life, there is good and bad, but let's face it, we cannot live without the sun. What we CAN do, however, is learn a little bit more about it, and specifically the ultraviolet radiation (UVR) it emits and what it means to us in every day life.

First off, let's go through a real quick synopsis of UVR - UVR is part of the electromagnetic spectrum emitted by the sun. It can be divided into three types: UVA, UVB and UVC. While all UVC and most UVB radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere, all UVA and about 10% of UVB radiation does reach the earth’s surface. Both UVA and UVB are known causes of skin cancer.

Now here are 9 facts about UVR that you may not have already known.


  • is high-energy radiation, capable of causing damage to living organisms

  • is carcinogenic to humans

  • cannot be seen or felt

  • is not related to temperature

  • can be high even on cool and cloudy days

  • can pass through clouds

  • can pass through loosely woven material

  • can bounce off reflective surfaces such as metal, concrete, water and snow

  • is essential to health in small amounts? (Small amounts of skin exposure to solar UVR are essential in the production of vitamin D and are beneficial for health)

So, it is both good for us (Vit. D...and many other reasons), bad for us (causes damage; carcinogenic) and can hit us at times we wouldn't otherwise think it would (cold, cloudy days; reflections).

One of the key ones in there, from our perspective here at Radicool, is that it can pass through loosely woven material, hence the need for quality sun protective clothing. Just because we are dressed does not necessarily mean we are properly protected against the harmful effects of UVR.

So be smart, be aware of the effects of the sun's ultraviolet radiation and enjoy as much of the "good" that the sun has to offer us as you can. Protect yourself with proper sunscreen, headwear and clothing  and be aware that the harmful effects of the sun's UVR are always out there, even when you may least expect it.


Mike McCarthy


Image courtesy of dreamhomestoday.blogspot.ca

Sources - The Cancer Council Australia

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