Raising the standard on sun protective clothing

Friday, 06 October, 2017

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The standard for sun protective clothing has been revised by Standards Australia. It includes a new requirement specifying the minimum amount of body surface that must be covered in order to make an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) claim.

Australia and New Zealand experience the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, with stats suggesting that at least 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70.

As a result, it is important that effective sun protective measures are readily available for the Australian and New Zealand public.

The AS/NZS 4399:2017, Sun protective clothing - Evaluation and classification sets out procedures for determining the performance of materials and items of clothing to provide protection against solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR). It is claimed to be the first standard of its kind to take body coverage into account when it comes to sun protection.

“The total cost of skin cancer treatments in Australia is in excess of $1 billion a year, the highest cost to the system of all cancers,” said Terry Slevin, chair of the committee TX-021, Sun Protective Clothing.

“Our goal is to help reduce this figure and the overall occurrence of skin cancer across Australia and New Zealand.

“Even though there are bikinis on the market today made of UPF fabrics, it would be irresponsible of us to label them as sun protective. We had to take the standard one step further.”

Standards Australia CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans thanked the committee for their work.

“AS/NZS 4399 impacts the way consumers make informed decisions about the clothes they wear and buy for their families when in the sun,” said Evans.

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/majivecka

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