Sitting In Front of A Window May Expose Children To Harmful UV Rays
More than 12 million Americans have children who may be receiving dangerous levels of Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun when they sit near unprotected windows, reports a new survey among U.S. adults with children under 18 years old in their household. These citizens are apparently unaware that invisible, but dangerous, Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays pass through glass as a part of indoor sunlight, according to the nonprofit International Window Film Association (IWFA), the sponsor of the survey that ran February 25-27, 2015, among 2,032 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 458 have children under 18 years old in their household. The IWFA ran the online survey conducted by Harris Poll in February 2015 to help educate the public about the many benefits of window film as it leads up to National Window Film Day on April 30th.
“A large body of medical research shows harmful UVA rays penetrate the skin deeply and can do significant damage and even cause cancer as it passes through unprotected windows on sunny or even cloudy days,” said Darrell Smith, executive director of the IWFA. “While the impact of this exposure is seen in older adults, the harm to the skin can start when you are child, and the damage cannot be reversed,” he added.
Studies reported in the New England Journal of Medicine state that UVA rays transmit through unprotected window glass and can penetrate several layers of skin indoors. A report from the Dermatology Department of the Henry Ford Medical Center in Michigan states that UVA “is a threat, and a far greater one than has been generally believed” and both basal cell carcinomas and melanomas can be developed. The report includes photos of a woman highlighting severe sun damage to the side of her face that had been exposed to UVA rays from a nearby window where she had worked for 15 years. The other side of her face was more normal in appearance due to far less exposure. “It’s clear that spending a lot of time in front of windows puts you at risk for UVA related skin cancer as well as increased wrinkles and premature aging. If this is you, take measures to protect your eyes and skin just as if you were outside in direct sunlight for long periods of time,” said Smith.
Unless you are regularly putting on sunblock rated for UVA protection, window film offers a cost-effective way to protect skin indoors, whether in an office, at home or in a vehicle. It blocks up to 99.9 percent of UVA, and people do not need to do anything to ‘activate it’ such as pulling drapes or using sunblock indoors once it is installed.
“With window film professionally installed in place, you need not worry about indoor sun exposure,” said Smith of the IWFA. “In addition, you gain benefits such as lower energy costs, more even interior temperatures and more protection from the fading of your furnishings,” he added.
To help educate consumers and industry professionals alike, the IWFA recently rolled out a new website to serve as a one-stop information resource. The ‘responsive’ website can be viewed on nearly any digital device, offers informative videos and free booklets on the energy savings and health and safety benefits of window film available at www.iwfa.com.