Abstract The photo-stabilising action of a new aliphatic p-hydroxybenzoate light stabiliser, Cyasorb® UV 2908 (American Cyanamid Company), has been examined in polypropylene film, with the aid of a number of related compounds, by both normal and derivative uv absorption, infra-red techniques and hydroperoxide analysis. During processing and oven ageing the stabiliser operates as an effective chain breaking donor, terminating macroalkyl radicals and inhibiting the formation of hydroperoxides. Under both monochromatic (365 nm) and polychromatic ( λ′s > 300 nm) irradiation conditions the decomposition of the stabiliser shows a direct dependence on initial hydroperoxide concentration in the film, indicating that it operates as an effective light stable alkoxy and hydroxy radical scavenger. Under ‘direct photolysis’ conditions (254 nm light) the stabiliser does not undergo unfavourable dimerisation reactions like other related p-alkyl substituted phenols. Evidence is also presented to show that the presence of the long aliphatic hydrocarbon chain has a powerful protective effect on the molecule and this is associated with a radical recombination process due to the polymer cage.