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UV Safety Month 2014: Standards Save Your Skin (and Eyes!)

July marks the annual observance of UV Safety Month, providing an important opportunity to educate the public about the importance of protecting your eyes and skin from the effects of the sun's powerful rays. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and its Federation of members are proud to support the development of a wide array of standards supporting products and technologies that help prevent negative effects of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.

When it comes to protecting our skin from the effects of sun exposure, sunscreen and other protective lotions and cosmetics are usually the first thing that springs to mind. These products come in a variety of styles and strengths, with most featuring labels that prominently display the product's sun protection factor (SPF). A standard from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) provides important guidance related to the determination of SPF for products of this sort. ISO 24444:2010, Cosmetics - Sun protection test methods - In vivo determination of the sun protection factor (SPF), sets down a method for evaluation the SPF of sunscreen-related products in connection with UV rays. The standard was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 217, Cosmetics. ANSI organizational member the Personal Care Products Council serves as the administrator of the ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO TC 217.

Sunscreen isn't the only way to keep your skin safe from the effects of the sun's damaging UV rays; wearing long-sleeved shirts and other body-covering garments made from UV-protective textiles can also be effective in reducing and preventing sun damage. ASTM D6603-12, Standard Specification for Labeling of UV-Protective Textiles, provides labeling requirements for textile products that provide UVA and UVB protection. The standard was developed by ANSI member and audited designator ASTM International.

While skin protection is an important priority when it comes to limiting exposure to UV rays, particularly given the prevalence of skin cancer related to sun damage, your eyes can also suffer if exposed to too much UV radiation. Thankfully, sunglasses that protect your vulnerable eyes from the sun's rays are affordable and widely available. ANSI Z80.3-2010, Nonprescription Sunglass and Fashion Eyewear Requirements, provides requirements for nonprescription eyewear used for recreational, casual, and dress purposes, as well as similar fashion eyewear. This American National Standard (ANS) was developed by the Vision Council, an ANSI member and accredited standards developer.

Reducing your exposure to direct sunlight and UV radiation is a smart way to safeguard your health. But while excess time in the sun can pose health risks, too little sun exposure can also put you at risk for a Vitamin D deficiency, which is linked to osteoporosis, bone pain, and muscle weakness, among other physical conditions. One way to bolster your intake of this important vitamin is through the consumption of supplements containing Vitamin D. NSF/ANSI 173-2003, Dietary supplements, provides requirements for supplements that include vitamins, minerals, herbs or botanicals, amino acids, or other related ingredients. This ANS was developed by NSF International, an ANSI member and audited designator.

Whether you're slathering yourself with high SPF sunscreen or popping Vitamin D supplements, voluntary consensus standards developed by ANSI Federation members play an important role in keeping you healthy during UV Safety Month and throughout the rest of the year.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


[email protected]