According to the American Academy of Dermatology, skin cancer is currently the most frequent form of the disease within the U.S., with an estimated 9,500 citizens diagnosed daily. Ultraviolet (UV) rays, which come from both the sun and natural lighting, are one of the most common risks, with infrared (IR) and visible rays presenting additional damage. Clearly, skin cancer is a sadly common illness throughout the country. However, there is one segment of the population that appears to be at a heightened risk: cannabis cultivators.
Cultivation of cannabis is done in one of three ways: outdoors, in a greenhouse, or indoors. Each of these present unique dangers for the skin. Outdoor cultivation means contact with direct sunlight, which exposes the skin to burns and increases the risk of skin cancer. Greenhouses can be dangerous thanks to the greenhouse effect, magnifying the effects of both ultraviolet and infrared radiation. And indoor cultivation, despite seeming like a safer option by staying out of the sun, can be just as dangerous. The artificial lighting essentially acts as a tanning bed, shining harmful radiation on cultivators who may not be aware of the risks. Each of these three methods are dangerous, with different combinations of exposure to UV, IR, and visible rays.
One major issue that contributes to this light danger is the current attire many cultivators choose. According to Daniel Jordan, founder of the protective clothing company RayWear, “Coveralls are fantastic for sanitation. They are literally designed to protect the plant from us. But they’re not designed to protect the worker. I love that these operations are serious about sanitation and cleanliness, but unfortunately that doesn’t do anything to protect the worker. In fact, it only gives a false sense of security that you’re protected because your skin’s covered. People assume that if they’re covered, they’re protected, and that’s just horribly wrong. Because most coveralls are manufactured from substances such as cotton or polypropylene, they still allow the harmful light radiation to pass through. Our goal in creating the RayWear protective clothing line is to educate the industry to this fallacy as well as the inherent risks.”
It’s these dangers, along with familial experiences with cancer, that inspired Jordan to create a layer of protection to keep cultivators safe with RayWear. The company’s specialized clothing is designed to not only combat these lighting risks, but also be convenient for the cultivator. Because the fabric itself is breathable and durable, it offers a comfortable, yet still functional, alternative to the aforementioned coveralls. The clothing is also dermatologist approved, able to protect the skin against intense lighting indoors, outdoors, or in the greenhouse. As Jordan himself said, “You can wear, basically, a suit of armor or you can wear our shirt. And trust me, our shirt’s more comfortable.”
While the dangers of light radiation within cannabis cultivation may not be well known in the mainstream, Jordan and his team are looking to spread awareness as well as protect the employees of the burgeoning industry. As Jordan put it, “As much as I want to have a successful business, at the end of the day we want to prevent people from having skin cancer. It’s affected my family personally, so I don’t want anyone to go through it.” With the work of companies such as RayWear, many families won’t have to.
To learn more about RayWear’s products and mission of protection, please visit them at