Impact of climate change on non-communicable diseases caused by altered UV radiation
Background: UV radiation can cause serious skin and eye diseases, especially cancers. UV-related skin cancer incidences have been increasing for decades. The determining factor for this development is the individual UV exposure. Climate change-induced changes in atmospheric factors can influence individual UV exposure. Methods: On the basis of a topic-specific literature research, a review paper was prepared and supplemented by as yet unpublished results of the authors’ own studies. The need for scientific research and development is formulated as well as primary prevention recommendations. Results: Climate change alters the factors influencing UV irradiance and annual UV dose in Germany. First evaluations of satellite data for Germany show an increase in mean peak UV irradiance and annual UV dose for the last decade compared to the last three decades. Conclusions: The climate change-related influences on individual UV exposure and the associated individual disease incidence cannot yet be reliably predicted due to considerable uncertainties. However, the current UV-related burden of disease already requires primary preventive measures to prevent UV-related diseases. This is part of a series of articles that constitute the German Status Report on Climate Change and Health 2023.
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