Can You Really Get Skin Cancer From Light Through Your Windows?

Doctors often recommend that people stay indoors during the hottest parts of the day to reduce their risk of skin cancer, but are you really protected indoors or in your car? If your windows are not equipped with filters to block incoming ultraviolet, or UV, light, you may still be exposed to a carcinogenic form of radiation while you watch television, browse the Internet or commute to work. Read on to learn how ultraviolet light passing through standard window glass can pose a real threat to your family's health. 

Distinguishing the Types of UV Light

Ultraviolet light is a natural component of sunlight, though it is it not on the visible spectrum. There are two types of ultraviolet light that commonly reach the surface of the Earth: UVA and UVB. Both forms of radiation are known to be carcinogenic, but UVA light has a longer wavelength, while UVB is shorter and more energetic. UVA light is much more abundant than UVB in the atmosphere and is responsible for your skin tanning after a day in the sun, whereas UVB tends to lead to sunburns. Although it was once believed that only UVB light could cause skin cancer, researchers now know that UVA can also lead to genetic mutations in your skin cells over time. 

Understanding How Glass Filters Light

As light passes hits a material, its ability to pass through is determined by the molecular structure of the material and the light's wavelength. When UVB light hits a standard window pane, it is mostly blocked and reflected; if you could look at the window with only UVB light illuminating it, you would no longer be able to see through it. UVA light, on the other hand, can pass through most window panes without issue, reaching your skin even while you are inside your home or vehicle. Your risk of developing cancer on any given day is quite low, but over time the damage to your cells will accumulate, gradually increasing your likelihood of a cancerous growth forming. 

Protecting Yourself From UV Light Indoors

Thankfully, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to shield yourself from these damaging rays. Installing residential window tinting in your home can not only protect your skin, but it may also extend the life of your furniture and reduce the amount of heat entering your home. Similar filters are also available for vehicles. Don't continue needlessly exposing yourself to a proven carcinogen even in the safety of your home. Talk to your local window tinting company, such as Simply Cool USA, to begin shielding your home from harmful UVA rays.