Hiding out under an umbrella at the beach this summer might not be the best idea. Not only will you deprive yourself of vitamin D, but research published in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology shows that more than one third of the sun's rays go right through the umbrella.
The results show 34 percent of the sun's ultraviolent rays can reach the ground shaded by a beach umbrella.
To carry out the project, the team positioned an ultraviolet ray sensor on the base of a canvas umbrella painted blue and white, with a radius of 31.5 inches (80 cm) and height of 4.9 feet (1.5 meters).
"The umbrella intercepts the direct radiation that comes from the sun, but part of the diffused radiation, which makes up approximately 60 percent of the total, reaches the sensor from the sky not covered by the umbrella," said study researcher José Antonio Martínez-Lozano, of the University of Valencia in Spain.
The media still loves to tout all the damage caused by UV rays emitted, however most of the theories have been disproven for a number of years now with reputable scientific evidence. Moderate exposure to the sun does not and never has caused skin cancer of any type.
One of the most common health warnings you hear nowadays is “Cover up when you go out in the sun.” Sunscreen products fly off store shelves, and every good mother puts a hat and long sleeves on her kids before heading for the beach.
Unfortunately, the sun is our main source of vitamin D. And too little vitamin D can result in heart and bone problems… along with a long list of other health issues.
Studies show that vitamin D shortage in the US has hit epidemic proportions. And the over-use of sunscreen products is a contributing factor.
Bottom line: Don't burn and don't use sunscreen, but do take adequate intake of sun and ditch that beach umbrella.