Does privacy glass block UV rays

Does privacy glass block UV rays
27 Jan 2020
By Ronnie Lawson-Jones

Privacy glass in a lease car is one of the most requested features along with leather seats and sat navs. Last week we had a customer who explained that they needed privacy glass for the new arrival in the back to stop them from having the sun on them for long journeys.

The below article came out of this question (which we answered on the call) as following the call and a few online searches we realised that there’s a large amount of the population who believe privacy glass blocks the harmful UV rays during the day.

Does privacy glass protect from UV?

Privacy glass will not stop ultraviolet rays coming in through side car windows. They are made by dying the inside of the glass, giving it a darker hue but ultraviolet rays can still penetrate it. The main benefit of having these is in the name - to add a level of privacy for the rear passengers which is sought after for people with children, especially babies.

Privacy windows will have a score of how much light they impede from coming in which is called visual light transmission or VLT for short, in percentages, with a legal maximum of 50%. However, ultraviolet is a different spectrum of light to VLT and therefore none of the benefits applies.

So to conclude, privacy glass provides nothing to protect passengers from harmful UVA/B rays and you will need to seek a different way to stop them (explained below). All glass protects from UVB rays whether it’s tinted or not.

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB?

UVA

UVA represents 95% of all UV light that reaches our skin, says Paula’s choice. It is known as the silent killer because you can’t feel the effects of UVA exposure as it’s happening and why it’s such a concern for parents during long car journeys in the summer.

UVA penetrates the skin and causes a lot of damage underneath and has a link to most skin cancer cases.

UVB

UVB may not be as prevalent but they are very powerful. UVB is the leading cause of sunburn and the feeling of warmth when exposed to it. Most glass protects from UVB so you’re protected indoors and in the car but not when directly outside. UVB can also contribute to skin cancer.

However, if you have an older car this may not apply which is why the laws behind window tinting differ depending on the age of the car.

Can tinted windows block UV rays?

Yes and no. Not all rear windows tints stop ultraviolet rays but there are UV blocking rear windows tint services available from a few vendors. 

Window tints are legal in all cases for rear passenger windows, but definitely not in front windows. If your goal is to just make sure your children are protected from UV rays then there is nothing to worry about. 

Privacy glass vs tinted windows

Privacy and tinted windows are two different ways to get the same result - a darkened pane of glass. Creating privacy glass window is a process where a dye is added to the glass at the factory and tinted windows are an aftermarket film applied to the rear windows.

However, only one can provide UV protection and that is window tinting.

Alternatives to privacy windows and window tints to protect from ultraviolet

If you want to reduce UV rays in the car but don’t want to use window tints to do that then our first recommendation would be to purchase car sun shades which are specifically designed for this problem - they tend to cost less than £20 and are easy to apply.

Second, are car window shades which is a piece of cotton-like material which wraps around the glass and some of the door frame completely and provide total cover, they are easy to put on but they are exposed outside of the car and can look a little unsightly.

Lastly, apply sun cream to the passengers will protect the skin from UV light- this is something that would need to be done with every journey and the cost will be much greater over time when compared to one time purchases such as the stick on shades and wraparound shades.

Can the windscreen prevent ultraviolet light?

Modern windscreens are made differently to side windows for obvious reasons. First, they’re made to be tougher and sturdier to protect from impacts and second they have special ultraviolet filters which can block up to 98% of UVA/B rays. 

So to answer the question, yes, a windscreen can help protect you from UV light but side windows are a different story hence the focus of the article because you can’t tint the windscreen.

Does privacy glass reduce heat?

A privacy window doesn't reduce the heat in a vehicle, although window tints can. However, even if they did sunlight would still come in through the windscreen and front passenger windows anyway.

Using air conditioning and climate control is the best way to regulate heat in a vehicle.

Do Mercedes and BMW windows have UV protection?

We do not know the scores of individual models of Mercedes and BMW vehicles and their UV protection but what we do know is that research has been conducted which claimed that BMW and Mercedes were the worst when it comes to blocking UV light through window to the point where it could be dangerous to all in the vehicle, especially the driver and the front passenger. 

You can find the research paper here.

Conclusion

UVA rays are and will always be a hot topic especially because of the proven link with skin cancer. Hopefully, with this article, we’ve been able to help people confused as to whether their passengers are protected or not when the sun is beaming. Privacy windows don't protect from UV rays but there are plenty of alternatives that will!

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