The windows of your car are harming you, researchers say. Nothing beats a long drive on a sunny summer’s day, we can all agree. But while you are enjoying the scenery, your skin gets damaged more than you think.
Car windows don’t protect us from the harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun, studies show. While windshields do block the majority of UV rays, the same cannot be said in the case of the car door windows. These are usually just tempered glass.
Brian Boxer Wachler, a researcher from the Boxer Wachler Vision Institute in Beverly Hills, conducted the study to determine what are we exposing to when we are out on a long ride. Dr. Wachler analyzed the glass in 29 cars from 15 different manufacturers. The cars were produced between 1990 and 2014.
The researcher measured the levels of ambient UV-A radiation behind the windshield and behind the side window. The results showed that windshields offer great protection against UV-A rays, blocking 96 percent of them. As for car door windows, they only offer a 71 percent protection against the harmful radiation. Overall, a low 14 percent of all the analyzed cars provided a high side window UV-A protection.
UV radiation is part of the light spectrum that comes from the Sun to the Earth. Its wavelengths are classified as UV-A, UV-B, or UV-C. Both UV-A and UV-B penetrate the atmosphere of the Earth and play a major role in our lives. While UV-B is blocked by glass because it is a shorter wavelength of light, UV-A goes through the glass and deep into the skin. Because of this, the daily commuters or people who spend extended periods of time in their cars are at great risk.
The windows of your car are harming you because UV-A is known to cause skin cancer and premature aging. Dermatologists recommend drivers and passengers alone to wear sunscreen against all types of UV rays. If possible, do turn to long sleeve clothing. And always wear sunglasses that wraparound the face on sunny days, as UV rays cause eye damage as well. Because US drivers are exposed to sunlight from the left side, an increased number of skin cancer and cataracts that develop on the left side has been recorded by doctors. Drivers can also get clear UV filters for their car windows for better UV protection.
IMAGE SOURCE: Wikipedia