Sharon Kleyne interview with Adam Perl (Higganum, CT), President of "Alex and Me," UV sun protective clothing company. Sharon Kleyne Hour - Power of Water*, June 23, 2008.
Summer has arrived, and with it an increased emphasis on sun and sunburn protection. The first line of defense against the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from summer sun is the clothing you wear. Education, and intelligent choices about sun protective clothing, no matter what the season, could save your life.
In an age of global climate change and increasingly dry air, the dangers of skin and eye exposure to solar radiation (sunshine) are increasing and the need to protect yourself - every time you go in the sun - is also increasing. Solar radiation, especially Ultraviolet-B (UVB) radiation, can cause dry skin and dry eyes, damage the skin's collagen to cause premature skin aging, and damage skin DNA to cause skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma.
Sharon Kleyne, Host of the Sharon Kleyne Hour - Power of Water syndicated radio talk show, urges everyone to apply sunscreen every time you go in the sun, summer or winter (the lotion in sunscreen also helps skin retain water, further increasing resistance to UV radiation), and to purchase and wear sun protective clothing.
Sharon's interview (paraphrased and abbreviated):
Sharon Kleyne: Today's guest is Adam Perl, President of "Alex and Me," a company specializing in the sale of sun protective clothing brands designed to protect skin from ultraviolet (UV) rays. Good morning, Adam. Tell us about "Alex and Me."
Adam Perl: "Alex and Me" has been in business for eleven years. Alex is the child of the original owner and the original product line was for children.
S: How did you become interested in sun protective clothing?
A: We market clothing in Australia, where UV protection is critical because of ozone layer thinning. Children there are not allowed outdoors at recess without at least wearing a hat made of Ultraviolet Protective Fabric (UPF). Our first UPF product was a brand of children's clothing for Australia. We now carry three dozen UPF brands, for adults and children. We sell a lot of outdoor recreation clothing, especially for the beach.
S: Teach us about UPF ratings for fabric.
A: There are two approaches to UV protection. Fabric can be chemically treated or the manufacturer can tighten the weave (thread count) and increase the thickness and density so less sunlight penetrates. With treated cotton, the embedded chemical lasts 20 to 30 washings. Synthetic fabrics are not usually treated.
S: Treated with what? Are the chemicals allergenic or dehydrating?
A: That's a good question. As it happens, the protection in 90% of our products is based on weave. Originally, UPF clothing was very heavy and dark. Now it's much lighter and brighter. Dark colors absorb more light and can get hot. Lighter colors reflect light and are cooler.
S: How do UPF fabrics differ from normal fabrics?
A: They aren't noticeably different. And a tighter weave does not add value to the product. What does add value is the UPF label. Companies such as Columbia Outfitters and Patagonia are now starting to make UPF sportswear.
S: How much sun protection can fabrics offer?
A: A dry white t-shirt offers the same protection as sunscreen with an SPF (sun protection factor) of 10, which is moderate. A pair of blue denim jeans has an SPF of 1,700. Obviously, though, the jeans are hotter.
S: What is your most commonly purchased item?
A: Swim shirts, also called "rash guards." They're very light and look like surfer shirts. We also sell an enormous number of beach hats, with loose flaps over the neck and ears. We also have clothing for traveling, fishing, hiking, biking, gardening and other outdoor sports.
S: And your website?
S: Any final words?
A: Be proactive in the sun. Skin cancer from sun exposure may not show up for decades.
S: Thank you, Adam.
*Don't miss the Sharon Kleyne Hour - Power of Water Mondays at 10 a.m. PST/PDT. The syndicated show may be heard on Voice America/World Talk Radio, Green Talk Radio and Apple iTunes. Go to www.SharonKleyneHour.com for summaries and replays of past shows.
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