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Revision of AS 4399 Sun Protective Clothing - Evaluation & Classification

Standards Australia has released a revision to the Australian and New Zealand standard for sun protective clothing, AS 4399 Sun protective clothing - Evaluation and classification.

As some of the changes in the revised standard may impact manufacturers of sun protective clothing, the important differences between the 2017 and 2020 editions of the standard are summarised below. The information presented here is only a brief summary of the changes in the standard, and manufacturers are advised to familiarise themselves with the information about body coverage, Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) claims and labelling in the revised standard.

The standard, AS 4399:2020, is available from SAI Global, https://infostore.saiglobal.com
or Techstreet,  https://www.techstreet.com.

The objective of the standard is stated as: “This Standard is intended to provide guidance regarding the information communicated to the consumer on UPF labels and/or swing tags about the relative sun protective capability of material and items of clothing. This information is intended to assist the consumer in the selection of those items which best suit their need for sun protection. This Standard also specifies the minimum level of body coverage that an item of clothing needs to achieve in order to legitimately display or claim an UPF rating.”

Major changes in the 2020 edition of the standard are:

  • This is now an Australian standard, and is no longer a joint standard with Standards New Zealand.
  • Removal of the exemption for women’s swimwear.
  • Minimum brim requirements for hats have been clarified.
  • Allows an exception for all-in-one clothing that meets either all the upper body, or all the lower body coverage requirements, to claim a UPF rating with specific labelling to be applied.
  • Revised UPF classification system and clarification on labelling requirements.
  • Umbrellas and shade structure suppliers/users are referred to AS 4174 Knitted and woven shade fabric standard.

Update on body coverage requirements for clothing

The main change to the body coverage requirements are around the removal of women’s one-piece swimsuit exemption.  Women’s one-piece swimsuits may no longer be promoted as being sun protective unless they meet the body coverage requirements.

There was also clarification on UPF claims and labelling of all-in-one clothing that does not fully cover both the upper and lower body coverage requirements. Exceptions for all-in-one clothing, provided the body coverage meets at least all of the upper body or all of the lower body coverage requirements, are permitted to make UPF claims. Specific labelling is required for these products.


Clarification on minimum requirements for hats

The revised standard clarifies the minimum brim dimensions for the three types of hats which are considered sun protective – bucket hats, legionnaire hats and broad-brimmed hats. There is allowance for alternative types of hats which fulfil certain protection requirements. Caps and sun visors are still excluded.

Revised UPF classification system

The UPF classification system has been modified to remove the “effective ultraviolet radiation (UVR) penetration” column, and the word “protection” is to be added after the classification of minimum, good and excellent.

The standard now provides clearer guidance on labelling, including additional labelling for items not meeting the minimum body coverage requirements.

When will the revised standard come into effect?

The AS 4399 is not a mandatory standard, so there isn't a specific implementation date for changing to the revised standard, but it is reasonable to change over within one year of the publication date. No action is required for products already tested and labelled according to the 2017 edition of the standard.

What is ARPANSA doing?

We test the UPF rating of the fabric, however is up to the manufacturers/suppliers to determine whether garments, hats and accessories comply with the additional requirements of this standard.

ARPANSA will continue to issue the current style of swing tags until our UPF test reports have been revised and new tags have been designed and are available. 

Link: https://www.arpansa.gov.au

 

CONTACT US:

Please do not hesitate to contact us in regards to the revision or if you would like us to perform this testing for you (NOTE: AWTA Product Testing subcontract AS 4399 Sun protective clothing testing to ARPANSA as part of our complete testing service).

Phone: (03) 9371 2400 or Email: producttesting@awta.com.au