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Biological Effects of Infrared Radiation

January 1982
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 82-109
Biological Effects of Infrared Radiation Cover

The biological effects of exposure to broadband, non coherent infrared (IR) sources are reviewed. Historical aspects and properties of the electromagnetic spectrum, nonionizing radiation, and IR radiation are discussed. Characteristics and typical industrial sources of electromagnetic radiation are tabulated. Measurement of IR radiation is discussed including instrumentation, and quantities and units of exposures (radiant exposure, irradiance, spectral irradiance, spectral radiant exposure, radiance, and integrated radiance). Artificial and natural sources of IR radiation are examined and common occupations with potential for IR exposures are noted. Biological effects on eyes and skin are described. Industrial data on ocular IR radiation hazards among workers is presented. Establishment of standards, and protection and control measures for IR radiation is considered. The authors conclude that there is a great need for research in industrial situations to establish exposure standards for IR radiation and to evaluate the role of length of exposure in damage to eyes and skin.