Problem Solver - August 2011
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Protect Patrons From UV Rays

People are growing more aware of the dangerous effects of exposure to the sun's ultraviolet rays. This means your patrons are likely looking for a way to protect themselves when they visit your ballfields, playgrounds, aquatic parks and other outdoor facilities.

Q: Why do we need to provide protection? Isn't sunscreen enough?

A: A recent study from Consumer Reports revealed that many popular sunscreens are not providing the protection consumers expect. For one thing, the lotions need to be re-applied so often—an ounce of lotion for every two hours of sun exposure, and even more when you're in the water—that most people cannot realistically apply enough to be adequately protected.

Most lotions on the market tend to provide protection from UVB rays, which cause burns, but are less harmful. UVA rays, on the other hand, go deep inside the tissue and can cause melanoma. The Consumer Reports study showed that many popular lotions simply do not protect against the more dangerous cancer-causing UVA rays. What's more, those that are labeled "waterproof" or "all day" are engaging in false advertising.

Even worse, almost every sunscreen tested by Consumer Reports contained ingredients that had been associated with adverse health effects in animal studies. This suggested that while we expect the lotions to protect us from danger, they are not only doing a poor job of it, but they are also exposing us to additional dangers with their harmful ingredients.

Ultimately, there is no better protection than finding a shady place. Shade structures can provide this type of protection.

Q: What should we look for in a shade structure?

A: A polyethylene shade canopy is a good solution. Be sure to check with the manufacturer on the degree of protection provided. You can find shade products that screen out up to 99 percent of the sun's harmful rays.

Fabric structures made of polyethylene also allow some water to pass through. Because of this permeability, hot air won't get trapped underneath, so patrons enjoying the shade will also enjoy air temperatures that are up to 15 degrees cooler in the summer.

You also can find shade canopies that are simple to attach and remove, in case of inclement weather. Also, ask about the longevity of your canopies. Some manufacturers guarantee the sturdiness of their canopies via comprehensive warranties.


Shade Systems Inc.: 800-609-6066