UV Light for Disinfection
- April 8, 2021
- Posted by: Jiamin Ng
- Category: IS, Lab & Analytical Instruments
What is UV Light?
UV stands for Ultraviolet, and UV Light is an electromagnetic radiation that makes people tan. However upon excessive exposure, it can be damaging to our living cells. UV Light is also a mechanism of blending UVA, UVB, and UVC wavelengths into light devices to disable pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and germs. There are a variety of UV Light technologies, and not all are safe to be used in occupied spaces.
UV Light for Disinfection
UV Light is known to be a form of disinfection for a variety of applications, all depending on which wavelength(s) are being activated. The UVC wavelength of 200-280nm has been identified as an effective solution to disinfecting areas such as retail stores, hospitals, workspaces, etc. as a result of its efficacy to inactivate pathogens.
So how does UV Light disinfect spaces? Unfortunately, only living organisms or cells can be killed, therefore, since viruses and germs are non-living things, it is unable to be exterminated by UVC. However, how UVC works here is that it deactivates viruses by breaking up the DNA and RNA genetic material, hence stopping it from continuously reproducing. Similarly, this is how it works for bacteria as well. Although normal light, UVA, or UVB alone can also help to deactivate bacteria, such longer wavelengths are not as effective as UVC in breaking up the DNA and RNA genetic material of the pathogens.
As such, with UV Light as an effective method of disinfection, it tremendously reduces cost and time spent on chemical cleaning to sanitise our living and working environment. There are a couple of UV Light disinfection technologies that one can adopt, and you can check out the complete guide here:
Is conventional UV harmful?
As much as UV Light is effective in disinfecting spaces, people generally have the concern that it is actually harmful to the human body. As we note from our science textbooks, besides skin cancer, there are also a couple of health problems potentially caused by direct UV Light. Sunburn, aging of skin, eye problems, etc. as a few examples of such.
However, scientists have spent years of research to identify how to effectively use UV Light as a form of disinfection without harming the human body. They have discovered that not all wavelengths of UVC is harmful, and while it is harmless, it is equally effective as well.
HARMLESS but effective UV wavelength of 222 nm
A couple of researches has shown that the new far-UVC light with a wavelength of 222 nanometers (nm) is able to sanitize spaces and inactivate viruses effectively and safely. There are some tools with this new technology to filter out specifically the 222 nm wavelength of UVC to disinfect the air and surfaces with the presence of humans. This has brought about more convenience to work spaces as originally people were asked to evacuate the area for activating the conventional UV disinfection.
With this new far-UVC technology, people can carry on with their lives as per normal without having to worry about viruses, bacteria, germs, and mould. We have a Far-UVC lamp – the Lumenizer – that taps on this new 222 nm technology for disinfection; check it out here:
American Cancer Society. (n.d.) Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation. Retrieved from: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancer-causes/radiation-exposure/uv-radiation.html#:~:text=In%20addition%20to%20skin%20cancer,can%20cause%20other%20health%20problems%3A&text=Exposure%20to%20UV%20rays%20can,can%20also%20cause%20eye%20problems.
Lucas, J. (2017). What Is Ultraviolet Light? Live Science. Retrieved from: https://www.livescience.com/50326-what-is-ultraviolet-light.html
Roosegaarde, S. (2021). Studio Roosegaarde’s Urban Sun Uses New Far-UVC Light To Clean Public Spaces of Up To 99.9% of Coronavirus For Safer Human Gatherings. Cision PR Newswire. Retrieved from: https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/studio-roosegaardes-urban-sun-uses-new-far-uvc-light-to-clean-public-spaces-of-up-to-99-9-of-coronavirus-for-safer-human-gatherings-301249030.html
Wang, J. (n.d.). Germicidal UV Light Disinfection* Technology By Design Approach. FacilitiesNet. Retrieved from: https://www.facilitiesnet.com/site/brand-feature/Germicidal-UV-Light-Disinfection-Technology-by-Design-Approach–47800