MUNICH, Germany, Jul 21, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- German scientists say people outdoors are exposed to higher levels of the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays than previously thought, the BBC reports.
The scientists at the Geo Risk Research in Munich say the current Solar Index, which measures UV exposure, underestimates the levels of sunlight hitting sloped surfaces. The index only measures sunlight that hits flat surfaces.
Their findings are described in New Scientist.
The Solar UV Index is a system developed by the World Health Organization to help people gauge their potential risk of sun damage when outdoors.
Lead researcher Peter Hoeppe and his colleagues used new types of monitoring systems they believed would estimate UV exposure more accurately.
The team analyzed three year's worth of readings that had been taken every two minutes by the systems.
The team found UV exposure to parts of the skin was many times higher than those estimated with current measuring devices, particularly when the sun was lower in the sky and when a person was standing.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.