UVE vs UPF
Ultraviolet Protection Factor
There are two classes of ultraviolet light frequencies that reach the earth’s surface—UVB and UVA. UVB rays are responsible for producing sunburn, they also play a major role in causing skin cancers, including the deadly malignant melanoma. UVA rays are more prominent and can play a role in skin cancer formation. Additionally these UVA frequencies penetrate deeper into the skin and play a great role in premature skin aging including the formation of wrinkles. Both of these can be reflected from surfaces and do not need to come directly from the sun. Both of these can also pass right through cloud and porous materials. When nearer to the edge of the shade structure UVA and UVB rays can be more prominent.
Shelta Australia performs UV testing on our range through arpansa and test to Australian standards AS 4174:2018 Knitted and Woven Shade Fabrics. We encourage all our product purchasers to understand how dangerous UV can be on the skin. Please click on the link below and read more
“The sun protective clothing standard, AS/NZS 4399:2017 and the AS 4399:2020 both state: “Products such as umbrellas and shade structures which are not in close proximity to the skin will provide a lesser degree of protection than would be indicated by the rating of the material from which the product is made, because of the amount of scattered radiation that could enter from around the edges of the product. The amount of this radiation will vary with the area of the product, and the distance of the product from the body. This Standard is therefore not appropriate for evaluating such items” and AS 4399 goes on to state” (refer to AS 4174).”
With the release of the Australian shade fabric standard, AS 4174:2018 Knitted and Woven Shade Fabrics, a rating has been introduced for human sun protection that wasn’t included in earlier editions of this standard, an Ultraviolet Effectiveness or UVE rating. As this standard is intended for testing materials used for shading purposes it is recommended to apply this UVE rating to shade structure fabrics instead of a UPF rating. Although the same considerations still apply about sunlight entering a shade structure and reducing the protection rating, the UVE% protection rating from the shade fabric standard is intended for use with shade structure fabrics and is stated to be applicable.
The shade fabric standard, AS 4174:2018 requires the following statement to be added to UVE rated products: “When shade fabric is used for purposes such as shade structures for human protection, the ultraviolet effectiveness (UVE) may not be an accurate guide to the protection provided and may be less than the measured value due to variations in design, height and size of shade structures, stretching of the fabric, the distance of the fabric from the persons, the direction of sunlight, and the physical location of the persons within the shade structure (e.g. at the edge or at the centre).“
Shelta are actively testing our fabrics under the shade fabric standard, AS 4174:2018. You can find all our test results here. We are doing this to give our buyers the best possible information to help protect against the harsh Australian sun. Please use our equipment responsibly and always use sunscreen and proper protection in conjunction with our Garden and Beach shade.