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Benefits of UV Light, Plus the Dangers for Your Facility

Benefits of UV Light, Plus the Dangers for Your Facility

By Vanessa Peng

There has been a renewed interest in UV disinfection and UV sterilization technology due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses are now looking for ways to keep their customers and employees safe and healthy.

You may have heard of UV germicidal light and how it can help kill bacteria and viruses, but you may be unsure of how safe it is for the people in your facility. While all UV products have a certain element of risk for human exposure, there are ways to safely incorporate the benefits of UV light into your Coronavirus protocols.

What is UV?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation covers wavelengths in the 100-400 nanometer (nm) range. UV light is not visible and has shorter wavelengths than visible light.

UV radiation is divided into three categories: UVA rays, UVB rays, and UVC rays.

UVA wavelengths range from 315-399 nm, UVB from 280-314 nm, and UVC from 100-279 nm. The natural form of UV radiation is from sunlight.

Chart showing UV light visible spectrum and variety of wavelengths

UVA and UVB rays are both dangerous to the human skin and UVA can cause skin cancer.

UVC radiation doesn’t harm human skin, but can damage the eye cornea. It has the strongest germicidal properties and is the least dangerous for humans out of the three types of ultraviolet radiation.

UV light disinfection has been studied since the late 1800s and has been used to effectively kill bacteria for at least four decades. UVC light works by breaking down the DNA and RNA of bacteria, viruses, mold, and spores so they are unable to replicate and spread.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of UV light?

Benefits of UV light

  • UVC kills bacteria, germs, mold spores, and viruses.
  • Depending on the UVC device, the technology can eradicate bacteria and viruses in the air and on surfaces.
  • UVC has been used for at least four decades for its effective disinfection properties.
  • UVC technology is available in all different types of devices so it can be easily incorporated into your cleaning schedule.
  • Although UVC is unsafe for human exposure due to its potential to damage the eye cornea, it can be safely added to your facility’s daily disinfection routine.

Dangers of UV light

  • UVC is unsafe for human exposure and should not be used when people are around.

Although UVC has been deemed unsafe to be used when humans are present, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the technology as part of a safe and effective cleaning schedule.

For example, you may consider using a mobile commercial UV light sanitizer that any cleaning crew can run as part of their disinfection routine. The crew would run the mobile device in areas that are unoccupied. Or you could install germicidal UV light fixtures in high traffic areas, but run them on a schedule. That way the spaces you are looking to disinfect can be blocked off prior to the devices being run.

Reap the benefits of UV light at your facility.

The folks at U.S. Energy Recovery have worked with lighting technology for decades and love working with facilities to get the solutions they need. If you would like to learn more about incorporating UVC radiation technology into your facility or would like more information on the topic please watch our webinar, “Can UV Light Protect Your Facility Against Viruses?” or contact us: (800)834-8737.