20th Jul 2012
Ultraviolet Radiation
From childhood, we learn the colours of the electromagnetic spectrum that are visible to the human eye—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet—but the spectrum extends much wider than this. Below red are infrared light, microwaves and radio waves, and above violet are ultraviolet light, X-rays and gamma rays—all of which are undetectable to the human eye. Ultraviolet radiation is produced by high-temperature surfaces like the sun and is the cause of sunburn and skin cancers, but we also depend on it. It stimulates the production of vitamin D in the skin, which is essential for bone health and a healthy immune system—and a lack of it, especially during growth, puts us at risk of weak muscles, inadequate bone mineralization, skeletal deformities, and mineral loss. However, vitamin D is only produced in the skin between certain wavelengths of UV light: wavelengths that are almost never reached within the arctic circles. In the sunless Lovozero, in Russia’s north-west, young children are periodically exposed to UV radiation to prevent stunted growth, creating an imaginary summer—if only for a minute or two.

Ultraviolet Radiation

From childhood, we learn the colours of the electromagnetic spectrum that are visible to the human eye—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet—but the spectrum extends much wider than this. Below red are infrared light, microwaves and radio waves, and above violet are ultraviolet light, X-rays and gamma rays—all of which are undetectable to the human eye. Ultraviolet radiation is produced by high-temperature surfaces like the sun and is the cause of sunburn and skin cancers, but we also depend on it. It stimulates the production of vitamin D in the skin, which is essential for bone health and a healthy immune system—and a lack of it, especially during growth, puts us at risk of weak muscles, inadequate bone mineralization, skeletal deformities, and mineral loss. However, vitamin D is only produced in the skin between certain wavelengths of UV light: wavelengths that are almost never reached within the arctic circles. In the sunless Lovozero, in Russia’s north-west, young children are periodically exposed to UV radiation to prevent stunted growth, creating an imaginary summer—if only for a minute or two.

This post has 212 notes
  1. fiveelephantswithbaobabs reblogged this from swirlandswing
  2. sophila reblogged this from sciencesoup
  3. beefaloh reblogged this from uwotm8y8
  4. uwotm8y8 reblogged this from sciencesoup
  5. showupinshiningcolors reblogged this from sciencesoup and added:
    sciencesoup
  6. afternoon-entertainment reblogged this from fuckyeahengineeringstudent
  7. maj0raswrath reblogged this from wh0-is-john-galt
  8. nickwiththeafro reblogged this from sciencesoup
  9. jesuisunefemmefrancaise reblogged this from sciencesoup
  10. kr1sta01 reblogged this from sciencesoup
  11. catchingg-dreamss reblogged this from sciencesoup
  12. anartnaturedreamgal reblogged this from sciencesoup
  13. meowpacific reblogged this from sciencesoup
  14. thekarmaexperience reblogged this from sciencesoup
  15. indicuh reblogged this from bobchik
  16. bronzecandy reblogged this from sciencesoup
  17. marrame reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  18. andythebiomedicalvampireslayer reblogged this from scienceyoucanlove
  19. cabaline1 reblogged this from sciencesoup
  20. noememirescomoantes reblogged this from sciencesoup
  21. the-porn-legacy reblogged this from botherjoseph
  22. delightful-diversions reblogged this from sciencesoup
  23. r-macdonald reblogged this from sciencesoup