Testing clothing for sun protection
Clothing and hats are some of the most convenient forms of sun protection but not all garments provide enough protection.
Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation, or 'UVR', from the sun can cause sunburn, skin damage and an increased risk of developing skin cancers. All fabrics have some ability to block UVR but laboratory testing is needed to tell how useful different fabrics are for sun protection by measuring the Ultraviolet Protection Factor or 'UPF' rating of the fabric.
What is a UPF rating?
A UPF rating shows how effective fabrics are at blocking out the sun’s rays and reducing a person’s UVR exposure. A UPF rating of 15 is considered to provide 'Minimum Protection', a rating of 30 provides 'Good Protection', and ratings of 50 and 50+ provide 'Excellent Protection'.
UPF testing at ARPANSA
We test garments, fabrics, hats and other clothing materials to determine the UPF rating. UPF testing is done in accordance with the Australian Standard AS4399 'Sun protective clothing - Evaluation and classification' which was developed by Standards Australia.
Our testing laboratory is NATA-accredited to ensure the quality of results. Our test reports contain all the information required by the Australian standard for sun protective clothing and you can use the results to ensure your products are correctly labelled.
Send samples to:
619 Lower Plenty Road
Yallambie VIC 3085
Sample UPF report
Explanatory notes for UPF reports
Notes about fabric sampling and identification
To obtain meaningful UPF results, it is essential that samples sent for UPF testing are representative of the bulk of material. Due to manufacturing variations, UPF results for one batch of material may not apply to different batches of the same material.
The Australian standard for sun protective clothing, AS 4399, specifies certain requirements for test reports. These include adequate descriptions of the type and colour of the material tested. ARPANSA cannot issue an AS 4399 compliant report unless adequate descriptions are supplied with samples.
Schedule of charges
Fabrics and single-colour garments:
|Number of samples||Cost per sample (including Australian GST)||Cost per sample (excluding Australian GST)|
|1 to 10||AUD $150.00||AUD $136.36|
|More than 10||AUD $130.00||AUD $118.18|
Hats and multi-component garments:
Number of samples
Cost per sample (including Australian GST)
Cost per sample (excluding Australian GST)
1 to 10
More than 10
Prices are in Australian dollars. Australian companies pay the charges in the column that includes Australian GST. Non-Australian companies pay the charges in the column that excludes Australian GST. Payment is in Australian dollars, either by electronic funds transfer (EFT), BPAY or by credit card (VISA or MasterCard) up to $10 000. Please see Payment methods for more information.
Re-issue of test reports
If you require changes to a test report after it has been issued, a processing charge of $35 per report will apply.
UPF swing tags
After you have received your UPF report, you are eligible to purchase ARPANSA’s UPF swing tags to use on your item. Please see UPF certification trade mark information | ARPANSA for more information.
Further information about sun protection by clothing
An article published in the Skin Cancer Foundation Journal in 2012 titled 'Ready to Wear Sun Protection' was co‑authored by Dr Peter Gies and Mr Alan McLennan from ARPANSA. Download the article as a PDF.