Experts shine light on glaring problem

Reporter: Therese O'Shea
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla. — What do your electronic devices and the need for sun protection have in common?

A new study reveals that everyday objects that may reflect light have proven to increase the risk of skin cancer.

Dr. Barret Zlotoff and his researchers hooked sensors to a mannequin, then measured the amount ultraviolet light that reflected off smartphones, tablets and laptops placed on a music stand.

“When we found out the results we were actually surprised that it was pretty significant,” Zlotoff said.

Zlotoff and his researchers found that after an hour’s time in the sun, a tablet reflected 85 percent more light than the normal background of a grass field.

Additionally, a laptop reflected 75 percent and a smartphone 35 percent.

In other words, the glossier the surface, the more light was reflected.

But Zlotoff points out that it’s exposure over time that is the concern.

“I don’t think that’s significant enough to be a problem with one exposure,” he said. “I think the big issue is you’re using these devices all the time for years and years and it just is another source of ultra violet light that could be contributing to your overall exposure.”

One way to protect yourself is to wear sunglasses and sunscreen regularly.

Zlotoff also warns electronics aren’t the only reflective surfaces that pose a risk. Magazines, snow, sand and water can also be culprits.


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