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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Consumer Note

Air Date: Week of July 6, 2001

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Living on Earth’s Jennifer Chu reports on a U-V protection label that will soon appear on sun-protective clothing in Europe.

Transcript

CHU: Until recently, a bronzed body was heralded as the mark of health and beauty, but today we see the cost- over 1 million Americans develop skin cancer every year. So for those shoppers worried about sun exposure this summer, there's help for deflecting those rays. The British government, in collaboration with industry, recently launched a new sun-safe logo to mark European clothing that protects against harmful ultraviolet rays. The sun logo will alert consumers to products that offer protection of at least UPF 30, a measure similar to the SPF in our sunscreen. Different fabrics offer different levels of protection against UV radiation. The tighter the weave and the thicker the fabric, the more protection.

For instance, polyester fabric has been shown to provide two to three times more protection than most other fabrics. And black clothing has been found to provide more than five times the amount of protection than white. Displaying the logo is voluntary, but manufacturers say they've already noted a strong consumer demand for the label in Europe. Sun protective fabrics in the U.S. are most commonly found in outdoor products like tents, climbing harnesses, and personal flotation devices, but in those cases the UV protection is designed to prevent damage to a product, and not a person.

That's this week's consumer note. I'm Jennifer Chu.

CURWOOD: And you're listening to Living on Earth.

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