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Article

The Impacts of Sun Exposure on Worker Physiology and Cognition: Multi-Country Evidence and Interventions

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FAME Laboratory, Department of Physical Education and Sport Science, University of Thessaly, 42100 Trikala, Greece
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Department of Nutrition, Exercise and Sports, August Krogh Building, University of Copenhagen, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark
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Human and Environmental Physiology Research Unit, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON K1N 6N5, Canada
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Clinical Epidemiology Program, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, Ottawa, ON K1H 8L6, Canada
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Jeffery Spickett
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(14), 7698; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147698
Received: 5 June 2021 / Revised: 12 July 2021 / Accepted: 14 July 2021 / Published: 20 July 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Climate Change and Health)
Background: A set of four case-control (n = 109), randomized-controlled (n = 7), cross-sectional (n = 78), and intervention (n = 47) studies was conducted across three countries to investigate the effects of sun exposure on worker physiology and cognition. Methods: Physiological, subjective, and cognitive performance data were collected from people working in ambient conditions characterized by the same thermal stress but different solar radiation levels. Results: People working under the sun were more likely to experience dizziness, weakness, and other symptoms of heat strain. These clinical impacts of sun exposure were not accompanied by changes in core body temperature but, instead, were linked with changes in skin temperature. Other physiological responses (heart rate, skin blood flow, and sweat rate) were also increased during sun exposure, while attention and vigilance were reduced by 45% and 67%, respectively, compared to exposure to a similar thermal stress without sunlight. Light-colored clothes reduced workers’ skin temperature by 12–13% compared to darker-colored clothes. Conclusions: Working under the sun worsens the physiological heat strain experienced and compromises cognitive function, even when the level of heat stress is thought to be the same as being in the shade. Wearing light-colored clothes can limit the physiological heat strain experienced by the body. View Full-Text
Keywords: solar radiation; heat; occupational; labor; performance; core temperature; skin temperature; heart rate; skin blood flow; sweat rate solar radiation; heat; occupational; labor; performance; core temperature; skin temperature; heart rate; skin blood flow; sweat rate
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ioannou, L.G.; Tsoutsoubi, L.; Mantzios, K.; Gkikas, G.; Piil, J.F.; Dinas, P.C.; Notley, S.R.; Kenny, G.P.; Nybo, L.; Flouris, A.D. The Impacts of Sun Exposure on Worker Physiology and Cognition: Multi-Country Evidence and Interventions. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 7698. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147698

AMA Style

Ioannou LG, Tsoutsoubi L, Mantzios K, Gkikas G, Piil JF, Dinas PC, Notley SR, Kenny GP, Nybo L, Flouris AD. The Impacts of Sun Exposure on Worker Physiology and Cognition: Multi-Country Evidence and Interventions. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(14):7698. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147698

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ioannou, Leonidas G., Lydia Tsoutsoubi, Konstantinos Mantzios, Giorgos Gkikas, Jacob F. Piil, Petros C. Dinas, Sean R. Notley, Glen P. Kenny, Lars Nybo, and Andreas D. Flouris 2021. "The Impacts of Sun Exposure on Worker Physiology and Cognition: Multi-Country Evidence and Interventions" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 14: 7698. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18147698

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