||Standards for Sun-Protective Clothing Under Development
Over exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun is associated
with skin cancer, cataracts, and other disease, according to the
United Nations Environment Program, a global advisory that has
included the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Temple University,
They estimated over two million non-melanoma skin cancers and
200,000 malignant melanomas occur globally each year, and expect
this to rise as stratospheric ozone decreases. Considering these
figures, a credible assessment of the protection levels of sun-smart
products is of prime importance to the public.
Since 1966, ASTM Subcommittee D13.65 on UV-Protective Fabrics
and Clothing has been developing standards for UV-protective apparel
to assess the sunburn-protection level of fabric and promote clear
and consistent labeling.
From small businesses to clothing mills whose names are household
words, a broad span of industry is creating these standards under
the jurisdiction of ASTM Committee D13 on Textiles. We have about 33 members officially on the subcommittee,
said Kathryn L. Hatch, Ph.D., a professor at the University of
Arizona, Tucson, who chairs the ASTM subcommittee. Some members
are entrepreneurs who are developing UV fabrics and textile products.
Other members represent established fabric manufacturers, garment
manufacturers, and catalog retailers. The American Sun Protection
Association and manufacturers of UV-related testing instruments
are also involved.
The group has developed an approved Standard Practice D 6544 for Preparation of Textiles Prior to Ultraviolet (UV) Transmission
Testing, and is finalizing a proposed Standard Guide for Labeling
of UV-Protective Textiles, which is expected to be published in
According to Hatch, these documents, when combined with American
Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists Standard 183, Test
Method for Transmittance or Blocking of Erythemally-Weighted Ultraviolet
Radiation Through Fabrics, will provide excellent guidance for
sampling, preparation, UV-transmittance testing, and labeling
of UV-protective fabrics.
Clothing and textile industry stakeholders, consumers, and advocate
groups are encouraged to join the subcommittee. Contact Professor
Kathryn L. Hatch, Ph. D., School of Family and Consumer Sciences, College of Agriculture,
The University of Arizona, Building 33 FCR, Tucson, AZ 85721-0033
(520/ 621-7134; fax: 520/621-9445). Committee D13 meets March
25-28 in Phoenix, Ariz. For meeting or membership information,
contact Staff Manager Bode Hennegan, ASTM (610/832-9740). //
Copyright 2000, ASTM