EGU General Assembly 2022
© Author(s) 2023. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Activities for the prevention of harmful effects due to overexposure to ultraviolet radiation targeted to youngsters and children 

María Luisa Cancillo1, Antonio Serrano1, Joaquín Fernando Monserrat1, Ana A. Piedehierro2, Sebastián Andreu1, Carmen González1,3, Francisco Javier Alonso4, and José Agustín García1
María Luisa Cancillo et al.
  • 1Departamento de Física, Instituto Universitario de Investigación del Agua, Cambio Climático y Sostenibilidad (IACYS), Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Extremadura, Avenida de Elvas s/n, 06006-Badajoz, Spain (
  • 2Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki. Finland (
  • 3Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial, Área de Investigación e Instrumentación Atmosférica, El Arenosillo, Huelva, Spain (
  • 4Instituto de investigación de Matemáticas de la Universidad de Extremadura (IMUEX), Universidad de Extremadura, Avenida de Elvas s/n, 06006-Badajoz, Spain (

The study of ultraviolet (UV) solar radiation is a matter of great interest in countries such as Spain, where the amount of solar radiation received throughout the year is really high.

According to Intersun (WHO’s Global-UV-Project), outreach programmes are urgently needed to raise awareness of the damaging effects of UV radiation. Furthermore, it highlights the inclusion of young people and children in target groups since the overexposure to UV radiation usually occurs before the age of 18. That excessive exposure in the early years can lead to serious effects in adulthood such as skin cancers and cataracts. It is therefore essential to make youngsters aware of the dangers that overexposure to UV radiation entails and the need to follow healthy habits when performing outdoor activities.

The Research Group “Physics of the Atmosphere, Climate and Radiation of Extremadura” (AIRE) from the Universidad de Extremadura (UEx, Spain), is involved in several projects related to the measurement of UV radiation and the study of its effects on human health.

One of their current projects focuses on disseminating information to the general public about the harmful effects of this radiation, as well as providing some behavioural guidelines to prevent them.

The most innovative action taking place to achieve this objective is the implementation of outreach workshops targeted to elementary and secondary school students. In these hands-on workshops, the students participate in the performance of simple experiments that illustrate methods of protection from the UV radiation. By using UV-sensors, filters, low cost UV indicators and 3D-printed devices which are sensitive to UV radiation, the students learn the effectiveness of the different protective measures, such as sunglasses, sunscreen, clothes, umbrellas, etc.

The interactive approach based on visual and simple experiments is very attractive to students and results key for their engagement. This format also stimulates their interest in science and its applications. The structure of the workshops is also original since the instructors are current and former university students from the Physics Degree at UEx. They demonstrate to the undergraduate students how to perform the aforementioned UV experiments. As a result, these students can also pass on this knowledge and healthy guidelines among their peers and relatives in other contexts like summer camps, gatherings, etc. The small age gap between facilitators and participants plays a significant role in conveying this important message more effectively: to avoid the harmful effects of the overexposure to solar radiation showing scientific evidence and increasing interest in science at a young age.

Several of these outreach workshops have taken place in educational centres, as well as on specific events such as the Science Week, the Researcher’s Night and the Day of Women and Girls in Science. This is a way to involve citizens to actively participate in scientific processes.

This work was supported by Junta de Extremadura and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF A Way of Doing Europe) projects IB18092 and GR18097 and by R+D+i grants RTI 2018-097332-B-C21 and RTI 2018-097332-B-C22 funded by MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033/ and "ERDF A Way of Doing Europe".

How to cite: Cancillo, M. L., Serrano, A., Monserrat, J. F., Piedehierro, A. A., Andreu, S., González, C., Alonso, F. J., and García, J. A.: Activities for the prevention of harmful effects due to overexposure to ultraviolet radiation targeted to youngsters and children , EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-10691,, 2022.