Duro Industries, a leading synthetic fabric finisher, has been signed up as the first finisher to produce and sell Solarweave ultraviolet blocking fabrics directly to garment manufacturers and marketers.

Solarweave, which has been endorsed with the International UV Testing Laboratory's UV Block Certification and Seal as "Excellent UV Protection," has previously only been available on a limited basis directly from the Solar Protective Factory.

According to Ben Galpen, Duro Finishing director of sales, Solarweave "gives consumers the protection they need from the sun without any sacrifice in comfort or style." He added: "We're excited that we can make this technology available to a much greater number of manufacturers and consumers through our agreement with SPF. Because Solarweave adds value to the final garment, we see it as a growing element of our business and believe it will eventually be incorporated into other fabrics we produce."

SPF CEO Harvey Schakowsky said his company has had a long association with Duro, which has finished fabrics for them on a limited basis to meet orders made by manufacturers through SPF. This is the first time, however, that Duro or any other finisher has been licensed to sell Solarweave directly to its customers.

Most people mistakenly believe their clothes protect them from harmful UV rays that cause skin damage and can lead to skin cancers. But while the average lightweight cotton T-shirt only blocks about half of the sun's UV rays, Galpen says that Solarweave fabrics block out nearly all UV rays but still breathe, so wearers remain cool and comfortable.

Terms of the agreement between Duro, based in Fall River, Massachusetts, and Chicago-based SPF were not announced.