Background & Fact Sheet
The Solar Protective Factory, Inc. was founded in 1989 by two California businessmen, Terrill Breese and Harvey Schakowsky. One of the founders, Breese, had skin cancer, which prompted their curiosity about ultraviolet (UV) transmission in general and, more specifically, through clothing.
They discovered that UV rays passed through some clothing at an alarming rate, the equivalent % of an SPF 4-6. They also found that the transmission rates of UV were increased when the fabric was wet, lowering the SPF equivalent to an SPF of 2-4.
They spent the next year testing a large variety of fabric to determine which, if any, could provide excellent protection and still be comfortable in warm weather. This led to the development of Solarweave®, their first fabric product.
Solarweave® was introduced in 1990 with a UV transmission of less than 3% or an SPF equivalent of SPF 45.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came on the scene in 1991 after they had decided to regulate sun protective fabrics and clothing as a medical device.
The Solar Protective Factory spent the next two years, along with hundreds of thousands of dollars in testing costs, to successfully pass the FDA testing requirements for a “medical device.” In 1993 the FDA decided not to regulate sun protective fabric and apparel, consequently eliminating the “medical device” category for these products. The FDA turned over the regulation issue of sun protective fabric and apparel to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) in 1993.
In 1994, under the guidance of the FTC and CPSC, and with the support American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) textile scientists and UV testing experts, a committee of industry leaders in sun protective fabric and apparel was formed. This marked the first time that a committee was convenved with the objective of creating industry-wide standards for sun protective fabrics and apparel.
The ASTM Committee D13.65 began meeting in 1994 to develop sun protective fabric and apparel testing protocols. Harvey Schakowsky, the CEO of the Solar Protective Factory, presided as Chairman of these meetings.
ASTM Committee D13.65 spent the next three years completing the most stringent testing protocols for sun protective fabric and apparel in the world.
The current ASTM testing protocols require UVA and UVB testing after the equivalent of two years wear and tear. This translates to 40 home launderings and 200 hours of direct ultraviolet exposure. Fabrics are then rated on an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) scale.
All Solar Protective Factory fabrics surpass the maximum UPF rating of UPF 40-50+. This means that all SPF® fabrics block more than 97% of UVA and UVB even after two years wear and tear.
Australian standards call for testing fabrics only when they are new.
In 2006 a law firm filed a law suit against the major sunscreen makers alleging false and misleading labeling and advertising that created a false sense of security with sunscreen users. Major sunscreen manufacturers continue to market their products as waterproof and as having long-lasting protection.
In 2006 the Solar Protective Factory perfected the SPF® 100% cotton t-shirt that achieves the maximum UPF rating of UPF 40-50+.
In 2007 the Solar Protective Factory officially opened its new website: www.sunprotectioncenter.com . The website is an internet Sun-Protection Superstore carrying a full range of sun-protective clothing and accessories for men, women and children.