Research Letters |

UV Radiation Protection by Handheld Umbrellas

Josette R. McMichael, MD; Emir Veledar, PhD; Suephy C. Chen, MD, MS
JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(6):757-758. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.2519.
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The handheld umbrella (HU) is a commonly employed method of sun protection by women in many countries in Asia (45% in China1) and the Middle East. In Turkey, hats and umbrellas were found to be the most common photoprotection accessories.2

The HU was standard outdoor attire for women of the 18th and 19th centuries in the United States.3 In the next century, sunscreen, hats, and sun-protective clothing supplanted HUs, but growing public awareness of the harmful effects of UV radiation (UVR) exposure may cause people to increasingly seek the protection of shade.

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Figure 1. Standard positions for UV radiation measurements. A, Measurement taken at 1 cm beneath the fabric of the umbrella. B, Measurement taken at 1 cm from the researcher's nose.

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Figure 2. Scatter plot showing distribution of UV radiation (UVR) measurements. Farther measurements were taken approximately 1 cm from researcher's nose and y-axis measurements taken approximately 1 cm beneath the umbrella fabric. Numbers represent individual umbrellas. Umbrella 6 (Coolibar sun umbrella) blocked the most UVR, and umbrella 13 (white Totes) blocked the least UVR. Umbrellas 1, 3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 19, 22, and 23 were categorized as black. Box plots along the axes correspond to the measurements on the axes. Information in the x-axis box plot represents more Farther data. The outlier (small circle) under the x-axis corresponds to measurement 13. The y-axis box plot represents more Closer data. Three outliers (small circles) parallel to the y-axis correspond to measurements 4, 5, and 13. Box plot lines correspond to 25%, 50%, and 75%, and whiskers stretch from 25% and 75%. When outliers are farther than 1.5 times interquartile range, the outlier is represented with a dot. One outlier appears below the Farther axis, umbrella 13, which means that umbrella 13 stands apart for Farther; 3 outliers are charted along the Closer axis.




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