Skin Hazards

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From a safety standpoint, skin effects have been usually considered of secondary importance. However, with the more widespread use of lasers emitting in the ultraviolet spectral region as well as higher power lasers, skin effects have assumed greater importance.

Erythema1, skin cancer, and accelerated skin aging are possible in the 230nm to 380 nm wavelength range (actinic ultraviolet). The most severe effects occur in the UV-B (280-315nm). Increased pigmentation can result following chronic exposures in the 280 nm to 480 nm wavelength range. At high irradiances, these wavelengths also produce "long-wave" erythema of the skin. In addition, photosensitive reactions are possible in the 310 nm to 400 nm (near ultraviolet) and 400 nm to 600 nm (visible) wavelength regions. The most significant effects in the 700 nm to 1000 nm range (infrared) will be skin burns and excessive dry skin.

1 Sunburn.

Ultraviolot Waves Hazards
Fig. 5.1. (a) Absorption sites of visible and near infrared radiation. (b) Absorption sites of middle infrared, far infrared, and middle ultraviolet radiation. (c) Absorption sites of near ultraviolet radiation

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