too <much><many> UV rays

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  • JBarDom

    Senior Member
    Do we say (a) "Exposure to too much UV rays causes skin cancer" or (b) "Exposure to too many UV rays causes skin cancer"?
    Well, as I see it you are talking about two different uses on the term UV.

    UV directly implies radiation, so the form of transmitting the radiation is through rays.

    My suggestion is using either 'too much UV radiation - or UV as sdgraham wrote - or 'too many UV rays' hence using uncountable form for the first, and countable form for the latter.


    Senior Member
    German/English bilingual
    How many rays does it take to give you skin cancer? How would you define and count rays for this purpose? It doesn't make sense to count rays.
    Using "light" or "radiation" is better. Then you can use "much".

    Another option is to say "Too much UV exposure causes skin cancer."


    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    Do we say (a) "Exposure to too much UV rays causes skin cancer" or (b) "Exposure to too many UV rays causes skin cancer"?
    We don't say either of those. This mis-uses "rays". In the WordReference dictionary a "ray" is defined as "a narrow beam of light". If you are outdoors surrounded by bright sunshine, there is no "narrow beam". So we don't talk about "rays" in that situation.

    Instead we say these cause a risk of skin cancer (not guaranteed cancer):
    - Too much UV light
    - Too much UV radiation
    - Too much sun
    - Too much sunlight
    - Too much exposure to sunlight


    Senior Member
    USA, English
    I would not include "rays" either. Exposure to too much UV increases your risk of cancer. When I looked online for the risk factors for skin cancer the only risk factor I found was exposure to the sun's rays. I am sure that there must be other things that can cause skin cancer, but I found none.

    SPF 50 is supposed to give you 50 times more protection than not using anything. But that only applies to UVB rays and not UVA rays. I think both cause cancer. I will look for some documentation.

    Addendum: Google to the rescue.

    EWG's 2019 Guide to Safer Sunscreens

    The chemicals that form a product’s SPF are aimed at blocking UVB rays, the main cause of sunburn and non-melanoma skin cancers, such as squamous cell carcinoma (von Thaler 2010). UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply and are harder to block with sunscreen ingredients approved by the FDA for use in American sunscreens. UVA exposure suppresses the immune system, causes harmful free radicals to form in skin, and is associated with higher risk of developing melanoma.
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