Helping Consumers Choose Better Sun Protection

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. The major cause of skin cancer is exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. The best way to protect you and your family is to cover up when in the sun: the more skin you cover, the better the protection. Clothing made of fabric that protects the skin against the sun’s UV radiation is always recommended.

The CFA has recently participated in the Standards Australia technical committee that has updated Australia’s sun protective clothing standard. The revised standard does two things. Firstly, it updates the system for rating the sun protection level of fabric used to make clothing and accessories. Secondly, it adds new requirements about the minimum level of body coverage that clothing and accessories must have in order to meet the standard.

If you want to know if the fabric or clothing you are buying meets the revised standard, look for an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) label that mentions AS/NZS 4399.2017. The highest level of protection is a UPF of 50, or 50+ which is Excellent; a UPF of 30 is Good and a UPF of 15 is the Minimum. Unless otherwise stated on the label, garments and accessories with UPF labels will also provide the minimum amount of body coverage required to meet the standard.

Consumers can influence standards by becoming a Consumers’ Federation of Australia representative on a Standards Australia Technical Committee, making public comment on draft standards and suggesting new standards, more here.

CFA provides volunteer representatives on Standards Australia Technical Committees as part of the CFA Standards Project; if you are interested in finding out more about the Project and/or becoming a volunteer CFA Standards Representative please contact the Standards Coordinator