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Q: Sunbathing through glass ( Answered,   3 Comments )
Subject: Sunbathing through glass
Category: Health
Asked by: nic1111-ga
List Price: $25.00
Posted: 12 Dec 2005 11:08 PST
Expires: 11 Jan 2006 11:08 PST
Question ID: 604882
Can you get a sun tan if you are sunbathing through glass? For
instance in a conservatory. Assuming the weather is hot, of course.
For instance, if it is 35 degrees C outdoors and you are sitting under
a glass roof, or behing a clear glass screen, would you get tanned, or
Subject: Re: Sunbathing through glass
Answered By: tlspiegel-ga on 12 Dec 2005 11:47 PST
Hi nic1111,

Thank you for your interesting question. 

How Things Work - Windows and Glass

"Can you get a suntan or sunburn through glass? 

Yes, but not as quickly as without the glass. While glass absorbs
short wavelength ultraviolet light, it does pass 350 to 400 nanometer
ultraviolet. While this longer wavelength ultraviolet is less harmful
than the shorter wavelength variety, you can still tan or burn if you
get enough exposure. Glass is like sunscreen--it protects you pretty
well but it isn't perfect."


Skin cancer through glass

"Could you please tell me if it is possible to get skin cancer whilst
sitting in a conservatory or through a car window?

Most glass used for windows blocks UVB but not UVA. This means that
although glass greatly reduces the risk of sunburn, it does not
prevent long term damage from UVA. So, if you are driving long
distances or sitting in your conservatory every day for long periods
of time, with the sun beaming in on you, then you are putting yourself
at risk."


BC Cancer Agency

"Glass is an excellent sunscreen for preventing burning. You will not
burn through window glass but you will tan through window glass."



"1. Have you wondered if you can get sunburn or tan through a window?
A window acts like a sunscreen. It does not block all the UV radiation
but it does block the most dangerous wavelengths of UV radiation.
Glass absorbs short wavelength ultraviolet light, but it does pass 350
to 400 nanometer ultraviolets. While this longer wavelength
ultraviolet is less harmful than the shorter wavelength variety, you
can still tan or burn if you get enough exposure. You will burn much
more quickly when driving with the windows down and exposed to the sun
as compared to driving with the windows up and exposed to the sun."


Singapore Science Centre

"Can you get sunburn through glass or plastics? 

When you expose your skin to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun,
your body produces a substance called melanin, which protects the
skin. When your body can't produce enough melanin to counteract the UV
rays absorbed by your skin, a sunburn results.

Ordinary glass or plastic do absorb a large portion of the ultraviolet
rays from the sun. It would therefore take a longer period to get

========= News - Can you get a sunburn in the car with the windows up?

"At a recent summer party, someone asked if you can get a suntan or
sunburn in a car with the windows up. We were evenly divided on the
issue. What's the answer?

In a way, you're all right.

Most glass, in cars or houses, blocks the kind of sunlight, called
ultraviolet B, or UVBthat causes sunburns, said Dr. Robert Stern,
chief of dermatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. So
you're unlikely to get truly burned through the window. But glass does
let in ultraviolet A, or UVA, light, which can cause suntans, though
very slowly."

========= - tinted glass conservatory roofs,date,2005-09-08.aspx

polycarbonate conservatory roof part two colours - Wednesday, 07 September 2005

"consider where you will be locating your diy pvc-u conservatory,
north and east facing conservatories will have less light falling on
them and clear polycarbonate may be the better choice, south facing
diy conservatories may be better with the bronze or opal colours.

heatguard is alo good at reducing heat build as polycarbonate acts
like a green house effect as it will not allow the retransmission of
light absorbed
by the interior contents in other words it gets warmer inside! and you
will not get a suntan either as it absorbs infrared light."


keyword search:

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Best regards,
Subject: Re: Sunbathing through glass
From: dops-ga on 12 Dec 2005 12:03 PST
As a child we had a large greenhouse that had been converted to house
an inground pool. We swan the year round; summer months 8-10 hrs a day
could be spent by the pool. I am very fair skinned (burn within
minutes at the ocean) and never burned (or even tanned) in the pool
house. Perhaps the glass we used was specially treated but I doubt it.
Subject: Re: Sunbathing through glass
From: edejl-ga on 20 Dec 2005 14:30 PST
As a chemistry student I asked this question. I was told by my teacher
that it is only some glass. If you're planning on sunbathing, be
careful as it may only be some type of glass
Subject: Re: Sunbathing through glass
From: paulsid-ga on 10 Jan 2006 14:39 PST
It depends on how sensitive you are. I am extremely sensitive to
sunburn and have been burned through car windows on several occasions.

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