A comprehensive approach to evaluating and classifying sun-protective clothing

Downs, N.J, and Harrison, S.L (2018) A comprehensive approach to evaluating and classifying sun-protective clothing. British Journal of Dermatology, 178 (4). pp. 958-964.

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Background: National standards for clothing designed to protect the wearer from the harmful effects of solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR) have been implemented in Australia/New Zealand, Europe, and the USA. Industry standards reflect the need to protect the skin by covering a considerable proportion of the potentially exposed body surface area (BSA) and by reducing UVR-transmission through fabric (the Ultraviolet Protection Factor; UPF).

Objectives: This research aimed to develop a new index for rating sun-protective clothing that incorporates the BSA coverage of the garment in addition to the UPF of the fabric.

Methods: A mannequin model was fixed to an optical bench and marked with horizontal lines at 1 cm intervals. An algorithm (the Garment Protector Factor; GPF) was developed based on the number of lines visible on the clothed versus unclothed mannequin and the UPF of the garment textile. This data was collected in 2015-16 and analysed in 2016.

Results: The GPF weights fabric UPF by BSA coverage above the minimum required by international sun-protective clothing standards for upper-body, lower-body and full-body garments. GPF increases with BSA coverage of the garment and fabric UPF. Three nominal categories are proposed for the GPF: 0 ≤ GPF < 3 for garments that 'meet' minimum standards; 3 ≤ GPF < 6 for garments providing 'good' sun-protection; and GPF ≥ 6 indicating 'excellent' protection.

Conclusions: Adoption of the proposed rating scheme should encourage manufacturers to design sun-protective garments that exceed the minimum standard for BSA coverage, with positive implications for skin cancer prevention, consumer education and sun-protection awareness.

Item ID: 51592
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1365-2133
Keywords: sun-protective clothing, UPF, standard, skin cancer
Funders: James Cook University (JCU), University of Southern Queensland (USQ)
Projects and Grants: JCU Research Infrastructure Block Grant
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2017 22:41
FoR Codes: 42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4202 Epidemiology > 420203 Environmental epidemiology @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4206 Public health > 420605 Preventative health care @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9204 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) > 920499 Public Health (excl. Specific Population Health) not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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