Ultraviolet radiation and the INTERSUN Programme

Ultraviolet radiation

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is part of the electromagnetic spectrum emitted by the sun. Whereas UVC rays (wavelengths of 100-280 nm) are absorbed by the atmospheric ozone, most radiation in the UVA range (315-400 nm) and about 10 % of the UVB rays (280-315 nm) reach the Earth’s surface. Both UVA and UVB are of major importance to human health.

Small amounts of UV are essential for the production of vitamin D in people, yet overexposure may result in acute and chronic health effects on the skin, eye and immune system.

INTERSUN Programme

At the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 it was declared under Agenda 21 that there should be activities on the effects of UV radiation.

In response to Agenda 21, WHO in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, the World Meteorological Organization, the International Agency on Cancer Research and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection set up INTERSUN, the Global UV Project.

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