Suiting Up For The Sun

Given the bad news about the thinning ozone layer, it's becoming more important than ever to protect against skin cancer. Sunscreens and sunblocks help, of course, but even when covered up, you can receive a lot of damaging ultraviolet rays. The typical T-shirt, for instance, blocks out less than 50% of all UV rays. Solar Protection Factory Inc. has a solution. The Chicago company has developed a new fabric from nylon that blocks out more than 99% of the so-called UVB rays that produce sunburns and are the principal cause of skin cancer. The fabric also blocks 93% of UVA rays, which lead to premature aging of the skin. The material, called Solarweave, gets these ray-fighting abilities from the patented way it's woven and the chemical composition of the dye used to color it. SPF is selling its first product, a soft-ribbed, knit collar polo shirt. The $40 shirt is machine-washable, needs no ironing, and, the company says, is durable and breathable.