While many people consider these safety features, one of the things many of us don’t consider when purchasing a car, is protection for our skin against UV rays. At Cancer Council we get asked a lot about whether or not people should get their windows tinted to protect from high levels of UV radiation, which can cause skin cancer.
So, should you shell out for tinting on your windows to keep your skin safe from UV? Opinions vary on how much protection window tinting offers, but as a general rule, you should be wary of any car dealers selling that car which was owned by “one little old lady” and has “100% protection against the sun because of its window tinting.”
Research shows that window tinting in cars offers protection against UV radiation.
As the Cancer Council Australia Position statement states:
• UV radiation levels inside a car vary depending on factors such as whether the side windows are open or closed and the orientation of the vehicle with respect to the sun.
• They are generally much lower than outside in full sunlight, varying from as low as 4% up to 50% of the ambient UV radiation outside the vehicle.
• Clear autoglass (side windows) blocks about 97% of the UVB radiation and about 37% of UVA radiation.
• Laminated windscreens block all of the UVB radiation and about 80% of the UVA radiation.
• Clear windscreen films can reduce the transmission of UVR further so that as much as 97% of the UVA is blocked. This depends on the quality of film used.
• Clear or tinted films can also reduce the amount of UVA and UVB penetrating through the side glass. The amount of protection varies with different products.
So, our recommendation is that if you’re spending a lot of time in the car with your children it’s a wise choice, or if you’re spending much of your day behind the wheel such as a sales person or a truck driver would.
Cancer Council also recommends:
• People – mums, dads and kids included – use sunscreen and wear protective clothing when out and about in the car when UV levels are high (3 or above) – especially if you’re planning on being in the car for a long time.
• Keep your windows up to ensure the tinting is covering your exposed skin to ensure added protection – use air conditioning if you have it (if not see the point above).
• As per the above, tints can vary but we recommend a better quality tint if you want to get your own. However, you should also be aware that if you’re planning to get your car windows tinted, there are tinting levels you can’t exceed.
If you’re planning some road trips this summer (or even if you’re not), remember to Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide to protect yourself from skin cancer. You can also download the free SunSmart phone app to check out skin protection times.