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C.

Impact on Humans
In addition to the above effects on the biosphere, increased UVB can have direct effects on humans including increased skin cancer, cataracts, and suppression of the human immune response system.

1. Skin Cancer
Laboratory and epidemiological studies demonstrate that UVB causes nonmelanoma skin cancer and plays a major role in malignant melanoma development. A major effort over the last several decades has been to understand the results of human epidemiological studies that have investigated the relationship between various forms of skin cancer and increased UV-B radiation. The USEPA has used the results of these studies to support its rulemaking on the protection of stratospheric ozone, concluding that it may be reasonably anticipated that an increase in UV-B radiation caused by a decrease in the ozone column would result in increased incidences of cutaneous malignant melanomas (potentially mortal skin cancers). In addition to the conclusions reached by USEPA, other analyses have been published which acknowledge the adverse relationship between reduced stratospheric ozone and increased cancer incidences (Shea, 1988; Van Der Leun, 1986). Non-melanoma skin cancers mainly include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. The mortality rate from non-melanoma skin cancer is less than or equal to one percent in areas with good medical care (UNEP, 1994; Tevini, 1993). An estimated 1.2 million cases occur worldwide annually (UNEP, 1994). The development of non-melanoma skin cancer is correlated strongly to exposure to sunlight and sufficient scientific information is available to roughly forecast the effects of increase UV-B radiation. A one percent decrease in stratospheric ozone is estimated to cause an increase of approximately 2.3 percent in nonmelanoma skin cancer (UNEP, 1994; Tevini, 1993). For melanoma skin cancer, sufficient scientific information is not available to project increased incidences. The incidence of melanoma skin cancer is lower than non-melanoma skin cancer by a factor of ten (Tevini, 1993) for an estimated 120,000 cases worldwide annually. However, the mortality is much higher, approximately 25 percent in areas with good medical care (Tevini, 1993). Rather than cumulative exposure to UV-B radiation, studies suggest that melanoma may be produced by severe episodic exposures (sunburn). These results are inconclusive. Earlier estimates by USEPA (1987) were that each one percent decrease in stratospheric ozone would increase the incidence of melanomas by one to two percent and mortality by 0.8 to 1.5 percent. Because of the many uncertainties involved, these estimates are considered questionable (Tevini, 1993).

2. Cataracts
Potential human health effects on the eyes include increased incidence of "snowblindness" and cataracts. The medical term for snowblindness is photokeratitis, an acute inflammation of the superficial layers of the eyes. The effect is dose related and can cause lasting damage in severe cases. Increased UV radiation will likely increase incidences. However, eye protection is available and a single incident is usually sufficient to encourage use of protective sunglasses (UNEP, 1994; Tevini, 1993). Sufficient information is available with regard to cataracts to roughly forecast increases. An approximate 0.5 percent increase in cataracts

would occur for each one percent drop in stratospheric ozone (UNEP, 1994; Tevini, 1993). An estimated 17 million people in the world are blind due to cataracts (Tevini, 1993). Based on calculations presented in the cited reference (Tevini, 1993), the number of additional blindness annually due to cataracts is estimated as 680,000. A one percent drop in stratospheric ozone therefore could cause an additional 3,400 cases of blindness due to cataracts each year.

3. Immune System
Laboratory studies have also shown that increased exposure UVB weakens the immune response system. A reduction in the efficiency of the immune system could lead to increases in cancers and infectious disease. The complexity of the immune system, which is comprised of several subsystems that help and suppress each other, and the complex reactions of different types of diseases to UV-radiation prevent any quantitative predictions of the effects of increased UV-B radiation given the current state of scientific knowledge (UNEP, 1994; Tevini, 1993). All sunlight contains some UVB, even with normal ozone levels. It is always important to limit exposure to the sun. However, ozone depletion will increase the amount of UVB, which will then increase the risk of health effects.

Effects on Plants
Physiological and developmental processes of plants are affected by UVB radiation, even by the amount of UVB in present-day sunlight. Despite mechanisms to reduce or repair these effects and a limited ability to adapt to increased levels of UVB, plant growth can be directly affected by UVB radiation. Indirect changes caused by UVB (such as changes in plant form, how nutrients are distributed within the plant, timing of developmental phases and secondary metabolism) may be equally, or sometimes more, important than damaging effects of UVB. These changes can have important implications for plant competitive balance, herbivory, plant diseases, and biogeochemical cycles. 1.1 Skin cancer. Today it is estimated that skin cancer rates increased due to stratospheric ozone depletion. The most common type of skin cancer, the so-called non-melanoma, is due to exposure to UV-B radiation for several years. There are already people who have received the dose of UV-B can cause this type of cancer. It is estimated that between 1979 and 1993 this type of UV-B dose was increased by 8.9 percent in the 55 north latitude (approximately the height of Copenhagen and Moscow), 11.1 percent to 45 N (Venice and Montreal) and 9.8 percent at 35 north latitude (Cyprus, Tokyo and Memphis). The average between 55 and 35 north latitude was 10 percent and estimated that the increases were greater in the southern hemisphere. The United Nations Programme for Environment (UNEP) predicts that at an annual rate of 10 percent loss of ozone over several decades, the increase in skin cancer cases will be about 250,000 per year. Even taking into account the current arrangements for the disposal of ozone

depleting substances (ODS), a realistic model indicate that the skin cancer would increase to 25 percent above the 1980 level by 2050, to along the 50 north latitude. The most deadly skin cancer called melanoma, may also increase their frequency. 1.2 The Immune System A persons defenses to fight infection depends on the strength of their immune system. It is known that exposure to ultraviolet light reduces the effectiveness of the immune system, not only related with skin infections but also with those observed in other parts of the body. UNEP noted that the effects on the immune system contains one of the questions of concern and to suggest that exposure to UV-B radiation could negatively influence immunity against infectious diseases. For example, leishmaniasis and malaria, and fungal infections such as candida. Exposure to UV-B radiation may well make the immune system to tolerate the disease rather than fighting it. This could mean the usefulness of vaccination programs in both industrialized and developing countries. 2. Aquatic Ecosystems The loss of phytoplankton, the base of the marine food chain, has been observed as a result of increased ultraviolet radiation. Under the ozone hole in Antarctic phytoplankton productivity decreased between 6 and 12 percent. UNEP indicated that 16 percent of ozone depletion could result in a 5 percent loss of phytoplankton, which would mean a loss of 7 million tonnes of fish per year, about 7 percent of world fish production. 30 percent protein for human consumption comes from the sea, this proportion increases even more in developing countries. 3. Terrestrial Ecosystems 3.1 Animals For some species, increased UV-B involves the formation of skin cancer. This has been studied in goats, cows, cats, dogs, sheep and laboratory animals and is probably saying that this is a feature common to several species. Infections in cattle may worsen with increased UV-B radiation. 3.2 Plants In many plants UV-B radiation can have the following effects: to alter their growth and damage plants, reducing the growth of trees flowering time changes, make plants more vulnerable to disease and produce toxic substances. There could even be loss of biodiversity and species. Among the crops in which negative effects were due to the impact of UV-B are the soybean and rice. 4. Air Pollution

The loss of ozone in the atmosphere cause high UV-B increase the levels of ozone in the Earths surface, especially in urban and suburban areas, reaching potentially harmful concentrations in the early hours of the day. The low-level ozone can cause respiratory problems and exacerbate asthma, as well as damage to trees and some cereals. In addition, low ozone levels contribute to the increasing problems caused by acid rain.
The number of diseases identified as definitely affected by UV-B radiation is steadily increasing. New this year from studies in humans is the discovery that critical mutations in the late stages of cutaneous lymphomas are of a form considered the hallmark for UV-B damage. Numerous recent studies have reconfirmed that solar UV adversely affects aquatic primary producers (phytoplankton and macroalgae) even at current levels. Photosynthesis, growth, development and reproduction are affected in the top layer of the water column where these organisms are located. Recent studies concentrating on the ecosystem level have indicated that short wavelength solar radiation alters the community structure and development, and the succession of species because of differences in organism sensitivity. Loss in biomass productivity in aquatic ecosystems due to solar UV is still controversial.

Bacterioplankton and small non-photosynthetic flagellates that feed on bacteria cannot utilize screening pigments because of their small size and are highly affected by solar UV radiation, which can cause DNA damage. The UV-inflicted damage can be repaired by light-dependent enzymatic processes and be offset by high reproductive rates. Bacterioplankton have a central role in the food web by mineralizing organic matter. Bacteria are also under attack from aquatic viruses, which occur at high abundance in the water as well as their predators, which in turn are taken up by the next level in the food web. The effects of UV on viruses and small flagellates still need to be elucidated. In cyanobacteria, growth, differentiation, photosynthesis and nitrogen incorporation have been found to be affected by solar UV radiation, even in extreme environments such as Antarctic rocks. Cyanobacteria can constitute up to 40 % of the marine biomass. These photosynthetic organisms are unique in their capacity to take up atmospheric nitrogen and convert it into a form that can be incorporated by phytoplankton in aquatic habitats and by higher plants, e.g. in tropical rice paddies.

Health Effects

The concern that exposure of children to UV-B radiation may be more damaging than exposure of adults has received support from recent findings in animals exposed as newborns. Using opossums, researchers have shown that low-dose UV-B exposure early in development (suckling young) can lead to widespread melanoma in later life. The exposure regimen used involved several doses that resulted in a total dose that was less than that needed to cause sunburn in these animals. It is now quite clear that in the opossum UV-B radiation induces lesions that progress to malignant melanoma, whereas UV-A induces only precursor lesions

that do not become malignant. This is in contrast to certain fish where either UV-A or UV-B can experimentally induce melanoma. It is not possible on the basis of current information to definitively identify, which of these two experimental animal systems is the more relevant to the development of melanoma in humans.

There is now quantitative evidence that the exposure to the UV in sunlight is detrimental for patients suffering from systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Researchers have shown that regular sunscreen use by SLE patients was associated with a significant improvement in the course of the disease. Patients who consistently used sunscreens had fewer SLE-related renal problems, fewer incidences of clotting disorders, fewer hospitalizations and a lower requirement for immunosuppressive drugs. The number of diseases identified as definitely affected by UV-B radiation is steadily increasing. New this year from studies in humans is the discovery that critical mutations in the late stages of cutaneous lymphomas are of a form considered the hallmark for UV-B damage.