Does glass block UV light?

Gerald F. Deitzer gd3 at UMAIL.UMD.EDU
Thu Mar 4 09:59:50 EST 1999

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Most glass absorbs the short wavelength UV (UV-C 190 - 280 nm and UV-B
280 - 320 nm), but transmits the longer UV-A (320 - 400 nm) radiation.
The UV-B is the erythemal region that causes sunburn and skin cancer,
but the UV-A can also cause sunburn and tanning.  Tanning lamps (at
least the newer ones) for example  produce most of their energy at 366
nm and do not produce sunburn except for fairly long exposure times.
They are not completely safe; however, since the some of the energy that
excites the mercury which emitts energy at 366 nm is at 254 nm and is
not all absorbed by the glass.  Back to auto glass. Most auto glass is
safety glass that has a plexiglas coating to prevent shattering.  Even
if a small amout of UV-B were to be transmitted through the glass, it
would be absorbed by the plastic.

The short answer is no you should not get sunburn inside your auto,
unless of course you leave the windows down and hang your arm out.

Gerry Deitzer

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