Learn what UV Rays are all about.
UV Rays - Our sun sends energy or "rays" to our planet all day long. This energy arrives in the form of
wavelengths. Visible light can be seen by our eyes and the infrared radiation can be felt as heat. But
the ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) cannot be felt or seen. These ultraviolet waves or radiation has a
shorter wavelength than the visible light. This affects our bodies in both good and bad ways. We
receive the benefit of vitamin D, but it also burns our skin. You must be careful to not get too much UV
radiation. Luckily, our atmosphere filters out much of the damaging UV rays. However, the remaining
energy is still enough to cause damage. There are three types of UV rays:
UVA - has a longer wavelength and is not absorbed by the ozone layer. UVA rays is the most common
kind of sunlight and tanning ray. It does penetrate past the top layer of our skin and can increase the
risk of developing skin cancer. These rays also enter buildings and can cause damage to your skin
over time. People think tanning is safe, but the darkening of the skin is the body's way of preventing
UVB - has a shorter wavelength and is mostly absorbed by the ozone layer, although some does
reach the surface. UVB rays do not penetrate our skin as much as UVA rays, but they can still cause
UVC - has an even shorter wavelength and is completely absorbed by the atmosphere.
UV Damage - We should all be glad the ozone layer works so hard at preventing the ultraviolet rays
from reaching us. But what does get through can be damaging to us. And not just physiologically.
In a San Francisco ABC news interview, then Good Housekeeping Textiles Director, Kathleen Huddy
said, "You can see there's a nice big picture window here. There were see-through curtains here and,
unfortunately, we thought that was enough and it wasn't. This is the way the fabric originally looked. Up
here is the degradation over time from the sunlight. Sunlight, even if it is indirect, can fade your
furniture's fabrics." Even strong indirect UV rays can have devastating effects on your upholstered
fabrics over time. Sun shades are a simple way to help ensure your furniture will last a lifetime.
Health risks - Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US. Basal and squamous cell
carcinoma are the most curable and most common types of skin cancer. Melanoma on the other
hand, the third most common skin cancer, is extremely dangerous. UV radiation is responsible for
anywhere between 65%–90% of all the reported melanomas. UV radiation can also prematurely age
the skin, suppress your immune system and increase your risk for cataracts.
You can see on the map below that UV Index peaks in July for the US. You can see the southern
regions and high altitude regions receive the highest amount of UV radiation. This makes sense as
the sun is more directly overhead as you move closer to the equator and there is less atmospheric
protection at higher altitudes.
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