Low Winter Sun is an Unseen Danger

September 29th, 2021 by Chris Collier

The sun’s low angle and path of travel in fall and winter may present unseen dangers for people unprotected from its harmful UV rays, leading to possible skin cancer, eye damage and vehicle accidents from blinding glare, according to The International Window Film Association (IWFA).

The main unseen danger is skin cancer, according to the IWFA. The sun’s UV radi­a­tion is a lead­ing fac­tor in skin cancer devel­op­ment and the face, head and neck tend to remain exposed in winter months where most skin can­cers occur. UV rays are always present and up to 80% of the sun’s rays can pene­trate clouds.

“UV rays can also pen­e­trate unprotected glass, so it’s pos­si­ble to dam­age your skin and eyes while indoors near a window on a win­ter’s day,” says Darrell Smith, executive director of the IWFA. “During winter, the sun’s low angle can more readily enter side windows and this glare can temporarily blind drivers making it hard to see clearly and possibly lead to an accident.”

Window films block 99% of the sun’s harmful UV spectrum and may have other benefits based on product selection. Low-e coating can reflect heat indoors in winter, reduce solar heat gain by up to 84% in summer, knock down the sun’s glare and provide an added level of safety by holding glass shards in place when a window breaks.

During the cooler fall and winter months, window film businesses may offer faster installation timelines as the public may only think about window film in hotter months. When air conditioners are set at maximum in homes and cars, most people only seek to have window films installed during the height of summer, according to the IWFA.

The nonprofit IWFA offers resources for the public to learn about indoor sun damage. A brief video called “What You Need To Know About Indoor Sun Protection” is available. The association also offers a downloadable booklet called “Beauty Inside and Out” that covers steps to prevent cumulative skin damage.

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