Source: Textile Review


Textiles are intrinsically suited for use as UV protection, as they are able to offer particularly good protection against intense radiation from sun if suitable materials and constructions are used. UV protection factor far above those of the strongest sunscreens can be achieved. Unfortunately, one cannot hold up a textile material to sunlight and determine how susceptible a textile is to UV rays.


Light is an essential prerequisite for life on our planet. Sunlight is important for human health. The body needs it to form vitamin D. In medical practice, UV lamps are used for treating psoriasis (a condition causing itchy, scaly red patches on the skin) and for treating jaundice in new born babies. The ultraviolet component of the terrestrial solar spectrum comprises approximately 5% of the radiant energy; however this component is largely responsible for the deleterious effects of solar exposure. The ultraviolet radiation band consists of three regions: UV-A (320-400nm), UV-B (280-320nm), and UV-C (200-280nm). UV-C is totally absorbed by the atmosphere and does not reach the earth. UV-A causes little visible reaction on the skin but has been shown to decrease the immunological response of skin cells. UV-B is most responsible for the development of skin cancers.


Incidence of skin cancer in Australia and USA are increasing. The rate of skin cancer in New Zealand and Norway also seem to be very high. Even in Great Britain, the number of persons affected with skin cancer appears to be rising. In Scotland, there was a rise of 82% of melanoma cases over the previous decades. In Switzerland, about 1000 persons a year develop malignant skin tumours. Recognizing these facts, it is important to protect the skin from excessive exposure of UV radiation.


Textiles are intrinsically suited for use as UV protection, as they are able to offer particularly good protection against intense radiation from sun if suitable materials and constructions are used. UV protection factor far above those of the strongest sunscreens can be achieved. Unfortunately, one cannot hold up a textile material to sunlight and determine how susceptible a textile is to UV rays.


Read Full Article


Originally Published in Textile Review, May-2011


The authors are associated with Dept. of Clothing and Textile, Faculty of Family and Community Sciences, The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Vadodara.