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High Percentage of Commuters Unaware of Cancer-Causing Sun Rays While Driving

Washington, D.C. – July 6, 2020 –  The International Window Film Association (IWFA), conducted a national survey asking; ‘When a car’s windows are closed are you safe from the sun’s UVA rays?’ and nearly one in four of the 500 respondents erroneously believe they are safe from the sun’s harmful UVA rays that may often lead to skin cancers, that most frequently develop on the left side, or driver’s side, of the face and upper arm.

A separate survey of drivers revealed 57 percent do not have window film tint installed on the side windows of their vehicles and of these drivers, 60 percent have no plans to have window film tint installed. The surveys, conducted in late-June 2020, each garnered over 500 responses and were both gender and age balanced based on US Census data targeting individuals ages 30 and over. Each survey had a margin of error of 4 percent.

“The surprise here is that while approximately 75 percent of drivers are aware of the sun’s harmful UVA rays passing through unprotected glass into their cars, almost 60 percent of drivers are responding by ‘sticking their head in the sand’ as they have no window film tint on their cars, and 60 percent of these unprotected drivers have no plans to have it installed,” said Darrell Smith, executive director of the IWFA. “What they are doing is allowing the inevitable damage to their skin and it’s like driving in a tanning bed on wheels,” added Smith.

The sun’s UVA rays are present on cloudy and sunny days, or whenever the sun is in the sky. Dermatologists and researchers have pointed to UVA rays as a cause of variety of skin cancers and cataracts of the eye. Studies have shown a definite link between US drivers and skin cancers and damage appearing on the left side of the face and upper arm at higher rates.

“These surveys are very concerning for our nation  as they show a large percentage of commuters are unaware of the significant damage the sun can wreak on the health of their skin and eyes through unprotected glass windows, all while commute times across the nation are increasing, and projected to increase even further with one-way commutes in San Francisco, for example, likely to be nearly 90-minutes or more,” said Smith.

All quality window film tints reject 99% of the sun’s ultra-violet spectrum, known as UV rays. People may falsely think because their factory glass on a vehicle is dark, they may be protected from UV rays, but they are not. Glass is able to block UVB rays, but not UVA rays. When driving, the left side receives six times more UV radiation than the right side. Over time this can result in a higher risk for brown “age” spots, wrinkles, and cancers like melanoma.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the US, and an important public health concern. According to the Melanoma Foundation, the percentage of people who develop melanoma has more than doubled in the past 30 years in the US. The average annual total cost for skin cancer treatment increased in the United States from $3.6 billion to $8.1 billion, representing an increase of 126.2%, while the average annual total cost for all other cancers increased by 25.1%, according to Gery P. Guy Jr, PhD, MPH of the Centers for Disease Control.