Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Fluorescent lights, ultraviolet lamps, and risk of cutaneous melanoma.

British Medical Journal 1988; 297 doi: (Published 10 September 1988) Cite this as: British Medical Journal 1988;297:647
  1. A. J. Swerdlow,
  2. J. S. English,
  3. R. M. MacKie,
  4. C. J. O'Doherty,
  5. J. A. Hunter,
  6. J. Clark,
  7. D. J. Hole
  1. Department of Community Medicine, University of Glasgow.


    Exposure to solar radiation is increasingly being associated with a risk of cutaneous melanoma, and some risk has also been attributed to exposure to fluorescent lights. The risk of cutaneous melanoma associated with exposure to some sources of artificial ultraviolet radiation was examined in a case-control study in a Scottish population with fairly low exposure to natural ultraviolet radiation. The risk was not significantly or consistently raised for exposure to fluorescent lights at home or at work. The use of ultraviolet lamps and sunbeds, however, was associated with a significantly increased risk (relative risk = 2.9; 95% confidence interval 1.3 to 6.4), and the risk was significantly related to duration of use. The risk was particularly raised among people who have first used [corrected] ultraviolet beds or lamps more than [corrected] five years before presentation (relative risk = 9.1; 95% confidence intervals 2.0-40.6), in whom it was significantly related to cumulative hours of exposure. The risks associated with exposure to ultraviolet lamps and sunbeds remained significant after adjustment for other risk factors for melanoma.