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Proceedings Paper

Biomedical consequences of ozone depletion
Author(s): Thomas P. Coohill
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Paper Abstract

It is widely agreed that a portion of the earth's protective stratospheric ozone layer is being depleted. The major effect of this ozone loss will be an increase in the amount of ultraviolet radiation (UV reaching the biosphere. This increase will be completely contained within the UVB (290nm - 320nm). It is imperative that assessments be made of the effects of this additional UVB on living organisms. This requires a detailed knowledge of the UVB photobiology of these life forms. One analytical technique to aid in the approximations is the construction of UV action spectra for such important biological end-points as human skin cancer, cataracts, immune suppression; plant photosynthesis and crop yields; and aquatic organism responses to UVB, especially the phytoplankton. Combining these action spectra with the known solar spectrum (and estimates for various ozone depletion scenarios) can give rise to a series of effectiveness spectra for these parameters. This manuscript gives a first approximation, rough estimate, for the effectiveness spectra for some of these bioresponses, and a series of crude temporary values for how a 10% ozone loss would affect the above end-points. These are not intended to masquerade as final answers, but rather, to serve as beginning attempts for a process which should be continually refined. It is hoped that these estimates will be of some limited use to agencies, such as government and industry, that have to plan now for changes in human activities that might alter future atmospheric chemistry in a beneficial manner.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 July 1994
PDF: 4 pages
Proc. SPIE 2134, Laser-Tissue Interaction V; and Ultraviolet Radiation Hazards, (21 July 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.180829
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas P. Coohill, Ultraviolet Consultants (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2134:
Laser-Tissue Interaction V; and Ultraviolet Radiation Hazards
Steven L. Jacques; David H. Sliney; Michael Belkin, Editor(s)

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