Objectives. This study sought to investigate numerous reports emanating from Punta Arenas, Chile (population 110 000, latitude 53°S), that associated acute ocular and dermatologic disease in humans and animals with excess ultraviolet-B (UV-B) exposure in the setting of the thinning of the ozone column. Methods. Ophthalmologic and dermatologic records in Punta Arenas were systematically reviewed to enumerate sentinel diagnoses potentially associated with UV-B exposure, ocular examinations on representative animal populations were performed, and the ambient UV-B exposure in the region during the time of maximal thinning was estimated. Results. No increase in patient visits or conditions attributable to UV-B exposure was seen for periods of known ozone depletion compared with control periods. Although ambient UV-B exposure was 1.6 to 2.3 times the habitual exposure on individual days, this excess exposure conferred only a 1% increase in annual exposure on the region. Conclusion. This study does not support existing lay reports of ocular and dermatologic disease in humans and animals that had been associated with the ozone hole over southern Chile.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health