Poor sun protection: car side windows can cause skin and eye damage

Poor sun protection: car side windows can cause skin and eye damage

Side windows in cars offer insufficient UV protection, which increases the risk of cancer
The front window of your car protects in most cases from the UV-A rays of the sun. Researchers have now found that the side windows often offer little or no sun protection. Because of this, exposure to UV-A rays can increase the likelihood of skin cancer and cataracts on long car journeys. So should we now apply sunscreen and sunglasses before getting in the car?

Many people spend several hours in the car every day. Proper protection against UV-A rays is particularly important in summer, for example to avoid diseases such as skin cancer and cataracts. Scientists from the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute have now determined that the side windows of our cars often offer little or no sun protection. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "JAMA Ophthalmology".

Study examines the front and side windows of 15 automobile manufacturers
If we expose our bodies to the sun unprotected for too long, this can have negative consequences for our health. For example, the sun's UV-A rays can increase the likelihood of skin cancer and cataracts, the experts explain. Especially in summer it is important to use sunscreen and not to stay in the sun for too long. But some people drive a lot of cars every day and are exposed to the sun all the time, say the doctors. For this reason, the researchers examined in their study what protection our car windows offer from the sun. The experts tested the car windows of 29 different cars from 15 different car manufacturers.

Many side windows only have a UV-A blockage of around 50 percent
During the investigations, the scientists were able to determine that some of the side windows had only 50 percent UV-A blockage, explains lead author Dr. Brian Boxer Wachler. Even if some cars have tinted windows, there is no guarantee that these will protect them from UV rays, the researcher added. UV-A rays in particular are particularly harmful to the skin because they penetrate particularly deeply. Car drivers in the United States continuously expose their left side of the body to the sun. UV rays have now been blamed for the increased incidence of cataracts and skin cancer on the left side of the body, says Dr. Boxer watchman

Some side windows offer little protection and therefore damage human skin
On average, car windows block around 96 percent of UV-A rays, the scientists explain. Protection for individual automobiles ranges from 95 to 98 percent. However, the side windows offered far less reliable protection from the sun. Only four of the cars tested had windows that blocked more than 90 percent of UV-A rays, the experts explain. Windshields generally offer more protection because they are made of laminated glass. But side windows are usually only made of tempered glass, the doctors add. So you shouldn't think that the closed windows of your car protect you from UV light. It is best to wear sunglasses in the car in sunny weather. This blocks UV-A and UV-B rays, the researchers explain. Some of the car windows even let enough UV-A rays through to affect the health of human skin. On sunny days you should wear clothes with long sleeves if you spend a long time in the car, the authors say. (as)

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