Many people question whether or not Ultraviolet (UV) protection is enough to help growers stay safe in the workplace. The short answer to that question is no. UV radiation is only part of the concerns involved with protecting cannabis growers from developing cancers, like melanoma, and other health risks associated with light radiation exposure. While some grow lights do create heavy exposure to UV, growers need to focus on protecting themselves from every type of harmful light that grow lights create. UV protection may be a start for workers that are exposed to light for hours on end, but it won’t ultimately protect them from different types of rays that can be just as damaging. With more grow operations and dispensaries popping up, there is never a better time for cannabis growers to learn about how they can prevent the development of skin cancer in the workplace.
Growers are exposed to extreme levels of light radiation for extended amounts of time during any given week. Heavy exposure to anything found to be cancer-causing will almost certainly cause problems without the right kind of protection. Most grow lights give off three types of radiation; UV, Visible and Infrared (IR). While UV (100nm-400nm) is found to cause skin cancer, cataracts, melanogenisis, and premature aging, other radiation types can be just as harmful to the body. Visible light radiation (380nm-750nm) produces free radicals, effects melanogenisis, causes premature aging, skin disease, changes to your DNA and disrupting circadian rhythms. Meanwhile, IR (700nm-1400nm) can cause things like soft tissue damage from long-term exposure. All of these health risks can come from grow lights, so protective clothing for cannabis growers is paramount.
So much of the cannabis industry is about promoting health and alternative medicine to harmful chemicals—it’s even a proven pain-relief treatment for cancers, like melanoma, itself. This makes workers health for the cannabis industry even more important. Melanoma is currently one of the most common cancers among young adults under 30. That is the major portion of the cultivation workforce in America. With education and the application of proper protective clothing, we can help eliminate preventable workplace illnesses, like skin cancer.
Growers like Bob and Nick De Groot know firsthand that the effects of grow lights on cannabis growers can be harmful if growers aren’t properly protected during their workday. As an industry leader in worker safety, De Groot wants to raise awareness on how other workers can protect themselves against harmful lights. De Groot’s grow operation, Flying Dutchman Cannabis, uses products like RayWear clothing to protect its workers from the harmful effects of the light. There isn’t a lot of research or understanding about how these lights can impact workers health, but De Groot feels that it’s better to be safe than sorry down the line. If there is a chance that these lights can be particularly harmful, De Groot feels that it’s important to prevent any harm from being done before it’s too late.
We all know the devastation cancer leaves its victims. And that devastation has just as big of an emotional impact on their families and friends. Cannabis companies know this firsthand, as the product is often sold as a treatment for cancer patients suffering through treatments like chemotherapy. They don’t want their workers to fall victim to the very disease they work so hard to treat.
RayWear is currently the only company that offers clothing that will protect the skin from all three types of harmful radiation, UV, Visible and IR. Companies like Flying Dutchman Cannabis are turning toward RayWear more often to protect their workers. The fabric is specifically designed with workers in mind, making it light and breathable for both indoor and outdoor climates. Other products like proper eyewear are important, too, and cannabis companies are learning how different technologies are helping to make a positive impact on worker safety in the cannabis industry.