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Bioeffects and safety primer for eximer laser uses.

Moss E
Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Newsletter, Frankfort, Kentucky 1990 Jan; 2:41-43
Biological effects and safety issues associated with using excimer lasers were discussed. The general characteristics and uses of excimer lasers were summarized. Excimer lasers typically produce short pulses of high energy ultraviolet (UV) radiation in the 193 to 351 nanometer (nm) wavelength range. They had been used to remove (ablate) predictable (targeted) amounts of nonbiological and biological materials. Excimer laser radiation can remove components in the skin such as melanin without damaging or other skin components. The results of studies examining the biological effects of excimer laser radiation on skin and other biological material were summarized. Studies investigating the effects of 193 and 248nm excimer laser radiation have found that irradiation at 248nm causes cell damage. In-vitro studies have also shown that irradiation at 248nm is more mutagenic than at 193nm. Safety issues associated with using excimer lasers in the workplace were discussed. The author recommends adopting more stringent precautions when using radiation with wavelengths shorter than 250nm because humans have little natural protection for radiation at these wavelengths. Using increased skin protective measures, developing and making available protective clothing with a tighter weave (to screen out UV radiation) and having higher ablation thresholds, and designing eyewear that can withstand potential excimer laser radiation etching effects are also recommended. Fully protecting the face is important because during ablation, excimer lasers can eject potentially hazardous or toxic materials considerable distances from the original site. Various gases that have been used to produce excimer lasers can also present occupational safety problems.
Pulsed-lasers; Laser-radiation; Biological-effects; Safety-practices; Nonionizing-radiation; Skin-protection; Mutagenesis; Ultraviolet-radiation; In-vitro-studies; Eye-protection
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NIOSH Division
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Conference of Radiation Control Program Directors, Newsletter, Frankfort, Kentucky
Page last reviewed: May 11, 2023
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division