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Improving UV protection by clothing--recent developments.

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1
Ciba Speciality Chemicals, Basel, Switzerland.

Abstract

The assessment of UV transmittance of clothing and the determination of the UV protection factor (UPF) are now well established and the influencing factors such as type of fiber, color, and fabric construction are known. Quick and reliable instruments to measure UV transmittance are crucial. Besides expensive scientific laboratory instruments, a low-cost UV meter is now available for this purpose. The questions arise as to what can be done about a given garment and whether there are ways to improve textiles by the consumer. The many opportunities to improve UV protection of clothing along the textile chain of manufacturing are discussed. The latest possibility for improving the UV-protective properties of clothing is now available at the fabric care stage in every household. A UV absorber can be brought into contact with a fabric during the wash or rinse cycle of a laundry operation. The high UV transmittance of 30% of a thin, bleached cotton swatch in the dry state (UPF 3), can be reduced tenfold to about 3% (UPF >30) in ten washes cycles. This is more than the effect achieved by dyestuffs. The detergent should contain about 0.1-0.3% of the special UV absorber. The same effect can be achieved as early as after one wash cycle with a higher concentration provided by a special laundry additive. Yet another form of application is via rinse cycle fabric conditioner. To make these new types of improvement of fabrics visible the Skin Cancer Foundation now provides the possibility for laundry products to qualify for the "Seal of Recommendation".

PMID:
12079239
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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