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Merilee Kern

Health Care

Using UVC Light Tech to Safeguard Employees and Customers

A well-established technology takes on a new threat

Published: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 12:02

As Covid-19 rages on, warning sirens have sounded of late amid a flurry of headlines surrounding ultraviolet C (UVC) light device-safety issues. Rightfully so, as the current pandemic has ushered in a veritable wild west of UVC gadget deployments with subpar consumer safeguards, instructions, or guidance.

So important are the concerns amid this rapidly proliferating product sphere, that the FDA recently issued a consumer advisory regarding UVC light technology that’s applicable for industrial, business, travel, and residential use. Although the FDA says that “UVC radiation has been shown to destroy the outer protein coating of the SARS-Coronavirus,” it explains that the current SARS-CoV-2 virus is not exactly the same virus mutation. The FDA does, however, concede that “UVC radiation may also be effective in inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which is the virus that causes the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19).”

Once largely a germicidal method leveraged in hospital, industrial, and other commercial settings for its extreme efficacy, today’s breed of UVC technologies are small, portable, and inexpensive enough to be making their way into businesses of every type across the globe—and even traverse with individuals while they’re out and about. Meanwhile, generalist retailers such as Amazon and Walmart have joined the fray in their attempts to divert market share from the more specialized, expert-driven, safety-focused UVC purveyors.

Although germ-killing UVC technologies do proffer tremendous advantages and results for users—serving as a potent tool for easily and effectively reducing harmful viruses, bacteria, pathogens, and microorganisms on surfaces—there are a number of considerations a business (or employee) should heed before procuring and using such a powerful device. This includes, but is certainly not limited to, why, when, where, and how it will be used. These variables impact safety and risk concerns related to UVC wavelength, dose, and duration of radiation exposure.

Surface sanitizing

UV light is known to be a very powerful weapon for fighting pathogens on surfaces. Powerful systems, like the Deluxe GermAwayUV 95-Watt UV Surface Sanitizer with Cage, are tabletop room and surface sanitizers that produce effective room sanitation by deactivating bacteria, viruses, mold spores, yeasts, Clostridioides difficile (C. diff), odors, and other harmful microorganisms. The device has five timer settings: 10, 20, 30, and 60 minutes as well as hold for indefinite run time. After the selected dosage time has elapsed, the device will automatically shut off. You can use it regularly to ensure a consistently clean room. There are also more permanent solutions, like the mountable GermAwayUV Xtreme Heavy-Duty Mountable UVC 95-Watt Surface Sanitizer.

Higher-traffic areas may benefit from systems with motion-sensor shutoff, like the GermAwayUV Mobile UVC 30-Watt Surface Sanitizer with Motion Sensor Shutoff. If you use powerful systems like these for larger areas, a motion sensor provides protection for people from potential UV exposure. Imagine you’ve set the sanitation process in motion to run for an hour on the device timer, but you’ve forgotten your car keys inside. The motion sensor will automatically stop the UVC emission immediately, protecting whatever or whoever is there. It will only resume when no further movement is detected. Again, protection from direct exposure to the UV light is a critical factor for safety.

These systems have effective coverage ranging from the immediate surface area up to 300 sq ft spaces. Keep in mind, that surfaces must be directly exposed to the UVC light, meaning they can’t be in the shadow of the light or be covered with a layer of dust or grime.

Air purification

Air-purification systems also take advantage of UVC’s ability to potentially inactivate SARS-CoV2.

One product, like the Heavy-Duty Dual Bulb 72-Watt HVAC UVC Air Purifier, is used in conjunction with an existing HVAC system. It’s suitable for use anywhere, including schools, offices, work floors, and medical rooms to sanitize air and environmental surfaces. A 72-watt bulb makes this device effective in small and large rooms as well as buildings, up to 2,400 sq ft. It sanitizes and disinfects air passing through the HVAC system by emitting UVC light of 254 nm. At this wavelength, the emitted light is able to penetrate and kill the DNA of atomic-sized organisms that create problems for humans. These devices are easy to install and appropriate for DIY application. Other available HVAC retrofit air sanitation and purification solutions include a coil scrubber or 36-watt HVAC UVC air purifier.

There are also stand-alone air-sanitizer units like the GermAwayUV High-Occupancy Wall-Mountable 150-Watt Air Purifier and Sanitizer. These units have their own fan to continually cycle all the air in the room through the system. The GermAway solution also provides a quintuple filtration and sanitation system that culminates in a full 150-watt UVC germicidal irradiation. This form factor is ideal for high-traffic areas.

Amid today’s wide-ranging breed of UVC light sanitizers, outdoor-level air cleanliness is possible indoors using the strongest protection that nature has to offer: UVC light. The key is finding the right sanitation and purification technology to suit your specific needs.

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About The Author

Merilee Kern’s picture

Merilee Kern

Official Forbes Business Council Member Merilee Kern, MBA is an internationally-regarded brand analyst, strategist and futurist—a prolific branding and marketplace trends influencer who both represents and reports on noteworthy industry change makers, movers, shakers and innovators across all categories, both B2C and B2B. This includes field experts and thought leaders, brands, products—such as Cure UV—services, destinations and events.