Burning Solar Rays Get Through Your Car Windows, Study Finds


Car Door Windows Offer Different Levels of Sun Protection

According to research, car windows does not protect from harmful exposure to the sun and it is best to put on your sunglasses and sun block while driving. Though windshields seem to block most of the ultraviolet – UV radiation from the sun, the car door windows tend to offer different levels of protection from the rays that are linked to skin aging and cataracts. As per researcher Dr Brian Boxer Wachler of the Boxer Wachler vision Institute in Beverly Hill, California, state that some cars are as low as 50% blockage.

He informed Reuters Health that `even cars which came with factory tint had no guarantee that it would protect against UV rays’. UV rays tend to account for a small percentage of the sun’s rays though are very damaging to human skin. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, UV-A rays seems to be the most common and tends to penetrate more deeply. Since drivers in the U.S have their left side exposed to the sunlight, UV rays seem to be blamed for the increased number of cataract as well as skin cancers which occurs on the left side, writes Boxer Wachler in JAMA Ophthalmology.

UV Rays – Pass Through Clouds/Glass

UV rays has the capability to pass through clouds and glass and to see if the car windows are protective, Boxer Wachler took a UV-A light meter on a cloudless day in May 2014, to a number of Los Angeles car dealers. He examined around 29 cars from 15 various manufacturers made within the period of 1990 and 2014. The car windshields on an average seemed to block about 96% of UV-A rays and the protection afforded by individual cars stretched from 95 to 98%.

However, side door windows are much less dependable. The percentage of UV-A rays that seem to block varied from 44% to 96%. Out of the 29 cars, only four had windows which blocked over 90% of UV-A rays. Boxer Wachler had mentioned that it had no correlation at all with the cost of the car, high-end car or low-end car. Dr Jayne Weiss in a commentary published with the study wrote that windshield are said to be more protective than car door windows since they must be made of laminated glass in order to prevent shattering. Car door windows though are just tempered glass usually.

UV Filters Added to Car Windows

She informed Reuters Health, `not to assume since you are in an automobile and the window is closed that you are protected from UV light. For the eyes, the best bet is to get sunglasses which block UV-A and UV-B light and wrap around the face, states Weiss who had been directing the Louisiana State University Eye Centre of Excellence in New Orleans. In this study, some of the car windows permit enough UV-A ray to affect the skin according to Dr Paul Nghiem who heads the division of dermatology at the University in Seattle.

Nghiem who is not involved in the new study had mentioned in his email that wearing long sleeved cloth or sunscreen which is broad spectrum could be very effective and seems indicated on long drives on sunny days. Boxer Wachler had stated that people could also get clear UV filters added to their car windows in order to protect from the damaging rays.

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