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The darker truth
Steady exposure to ultra-violet rays through car windows increases the risk of developing skin cancer

The Supreme Court of India has recently banned the usage of all kinds of tinted films; only car windows, which have been tinted by the manufacturers will be allowed. Additionally, from May 20, 2012, any tint added by the owner has to be removed even if it is within the permissible limit i.e. 50% transparency on the side windows and 70% on front and rear windows of the car. We decided to be the Devil’s advocate for a change. Tinted glasses in cars not only increase the effectiveness of air-conditioning but also block harmful ultraviolet rays. As per a study (Kimlin MG, Parisi AV. Ultraviolet radiation penetrating vehicle glass: A field based comparative study. Phys Med Biol. 1999;44:917-926.), tinted window glass reduces UV radiation exposure by 3.8 times as compared to untinted glass. Several researches suggest that exposure to UV through car windows is one of the main reasons for skin cancer. In a study conducted by scientists from St. Louis Universiy School of Medicine in Missouri, among the 898 patients with skin cancer, it was found that the rate of cancer was directly correlated with the areas of body most often exposed to UV while driving; thus proving that those driving cars without tints are more likely to develop skin cancer. Studies also show that UV exposure is 2-3 times greater in smaller cars, making the situation worse in India, especially during the months of summer. In summary, while we have all the respect for the Supreme Court of India, there is perhaps sense in revisiting the judgment passed by the esteemed panel of judges. Yes, there is a strong case for removing tints from cars, given the propensity of crime that can occur behind darkened windows, but there is as strong a case to the contrary when the question is about knowingly propagating potential skin cancer cases.

By:- Mrinmoy Dey

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