Researchers call for summer clothing to be given UV protection factor ratings as many fabrics offer inadequate protection

December 18, 2001

A new study published in BMC Dermatology reveals that, contrary to popular belief, many articles of clothing offer little protection against ultraviolet light, exposure to which is linked to the development of skin cancer.

Thilo Gambicher and colleagues from the University of Bochum in Germany, tested over 200 items of clothing for their ability to protect the skin from UV light. Their results were startling as only a third of the clothes tested offered adequate protection against UV light.

This is disturbing given that public information campaigns around the world give the impression that covering up the skin gives complete protection against UV light. Furthermore, only half of the fabrics tested had ultraviolet protection factors above 30 (the minimum level recommended by the European Union).

The researchers suggest that the general public should be provided with standardized UV protection ratings for all summer clothing in order to protect themselves from the damaging effects of UV light. Given that there is an association between exposure to UV light in childhood and the development of skin cancer it is particularly important that children's summer clothes to be labelled with a UV protection factors.
The full text of this article is freely available in the online peer-reviewed journal BMC Dermatology:

Protection against ultraviolet radiation by commercial summer clothing: need for standardised testing and labelling

Thilo Gambichler, Sebastian Rotterdam, Peter Altmeyer, Klaus Hoffmann BMC Dermatology 2001, 1:6

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