Ultraviolet (UV) radiation has affected life at least since the first life forms moved out of the seas and crawled onto the land. Therefore, one might assume that evolution has adapted to natural UV radiation. However, evolution is mostly concerned with the propagation of the genetic code, not with a long, happy, and fulfilling life. Because rickets is bad for a woman giving birth, the beneficial effects of UV-radiation outweigh the adverse effects like aged skin and skin tumors of various grades of malignancy that usually only afflict us at older age. Anthropogenic damage to the stratospheric ozone layer and frighteningly high rates of melanoma skin cancer in the light-skinned descendants of British settlers in Australia piqued interest in the health impacts of UV radiation. A changing cultural perception of the beauty of tanned versus light skin and commercial interests in selling UV-emitting devices such as tanning booths caught public health experts off-guard. Counseling and health communication are extremely difficult when dealing with a “natural” risk factor, especially when this risk factor cannot (and should not) be completely avoided. How much is too much for whom or for which skin type? How even measure “much”? Is it the (cumulative) dose or the dose rate that matters most? Or should we even construct a more complex metric such as the cumulative dose above a certain dose rate threshold? We find there are still many open questions, and we are glad that this special issue offered us the opportunity to present many interesting aspects of this important topic.
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