UV, Cancer, and Window Film

I recently read an article by the Skin Cancer Foundation regarding their recommendations to help prevent skin damage in children.  I am happy to see that in one passage, the foundation explicitly recommends window film as a way to help protect our children:

Infants 0-6 months: Infants under 6 months of age should be kept out of the sun. Their skin is too sensitive for sunscreen. An infant’s skin possesses little melanin, the pigment that gives color to skin, hair and eyes and provides some sun protection. Therefore, babies are especially susceptible to the sun’s damaging effects. o Use removable mesh window shields to keep direct sunlight from coming in through the windows of your car or invest in UV window film, which can screen almost 100 percent of ultraviolet radiation without reducing visibility.

Many people have told me that glass itself naturally blocks UV, and questioned whether the claim that window film has any added benefit.  I would like to clear the air regarding this issue.

There are three different types of UV rays.  UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C.  UV-C is naturally blocked by our ozone layer.

Although it is true that glass naturally blocks a percentage of UV-B.  UV-B rays are shorter in wavelength and are also known as “tanning” rays since they cause the tanning effect and sunburn.

Glass does not naturally block UV-A rays.  UV-A rays cause premature aging in skin.  Additionally, recent studies have shown that both UV-A and UV-B contribute to cancer risk in both children and adults.

Some frightening statistics about skin cancer:

  • more than 1 million cases of skin cancer is diagnosed annually
  • 1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer

Now the good news.  Quality window film blocks both 99% of UV-A and UV-B rays.  So not only does window film improve comfort inside your home or car, it also is a green product that reduces your energy usage.  Finally, window film also protects your health.

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