Volume 16, Issue 5 - September/October 2012

IWFA Update
by John Parker

Driving Home Window Film’s Value

The evidence in favor of installing window film that repels nearly all of the sun’s ultraviolet rays (UV) on a vehicle’s side windows has never been more compelling.

Ultraviolet A (UVA) is a type of solar radiation that does not burn you like the infrared spectrum does, or Ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. Plain glass generally prevents sunburn from UVB exposure. But UVA rays are constantly present, no matter the season or the weather. Also, UVA rays are responsible for the signs of aging because they are able to penetrate much deeper into the surface of the skin, damaging the cells beneath. If you don’t believe me, view this photo from the New England Journal of Medicine and see for yourself what UVA rays did to the left side of a long-time trucker’s facial skin.

There are nearly one million truckers behind our big rigs, but thanks to the efforts of the IWFA, many can finally feel confident and worry free when using window film on their cab’s sidelites, as long as they rate 70 percent total visible light transmission. For more information visit http://bit.ly/NBV93R.

Everyday Drivers
However, the health of truck drivers is only part of the problem. Everyday drivers, like you and me are exposed to UV rays as well. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, both UVA and UVB can lead to skin cancer, whether it is malignant or benign.

We are spending more time in our vehicles. The US Census Bureau reports the average commute time is about 25 minutes. Of course, drivers want to return home after work, so that’s another 25 minutes behind a wheel of a vehicle. A vast majority of Americans, 86 percent says the Census Bureau, use a vehicle to get to work. That means millions of people are spending nearly an hour next to automotive windows that most likely do not offer protection from the sun’s harmful rays.

Medical research shows a “statistically significant” correlation between areas of the body most often exposed to UV radiation while driving and the occurrence of skin cancers. Typically, an automobile’s side and rear windows are made from glass that is designed to block UVB rays (the sun’s burning rays), but not the deeper-penetrating UVA rays. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends window film to reduce exposure to UVA. As an industry we want to be sure to follow the Visible Light Transmission (VLT) guidelines in each of our states and jurisdictions. If you do not know what they are in your area, one of the benefits of the IWFA is tracking local VLT requirements. This information can be accessed at http://bit.ly/LWgtBD.

While we are all busy during this time of year, we also think of the opportunity to network and learn from others in the industry. Specifically, I mean the International Window Film Conference™ (IWFC), co-sponsored by the IWFA and Window Film magazine. One of the highlights of the event, which runs from September 20-22, is the International Window Film Tint-Off™ competitions. Two divisions, automotive and architectural, are held to showcase film technicians’ applications. The film professionals will have the chance to showcase their skills and techniques through a premier competition and educational demonstrations.

There is still time to register to attend the International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off. Visit www.windowfilmmag.com/iwfc to find all of the event details and register to attend.

I look forward to seeing you there!

John Parker is the president of the International Window Film Association (IWFA), whose members include window film dealers, distributors and manufacturers.

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