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Does UV Light Kill Viruses and COVID-19?

Does UV Light Kill Viruses and COVID-19?

By Vanessa Peng

During these times, businesses can no longer look at cleaning services the same way. What was once a routine expense has now become an area of focus for companies: What is the best way to mitigate Coronavirus risk for your customers and employees? Does UV light kill viruses?  The hands-down most effective approach to “killing” COVID-19 is through germicidal UVC light or Ultraviolet Germicidal Radiation (UVGI) technology.

Germicidal UV light technology uses short wave UV-C spectral band light to effectively inactivate most viruses and bacteria. Ultraviolet Germicidal Radiation light has been studied since the late 1800s and was first used to ward off tuberculosis in hospitals. UVC light works by breaking down the DNA and RNA of bacteria, viruses, mold, and spores so they are unable to replicate and spread.

Hospitals with the lowest occurrences of hospital acquired infections use ultraviolet light to disinfect. Currently, the use of ultraviolet light in the C spectral band is on the rise in all industries due to its decades-old proven ability to kill viruses and bacteria.

 

UVC light makes up for human error. A manual cleaning crew is not perfect. Whether they use aerosols or wipes, they are bound to miss some spots.

Germicidal UV light cannot miss a spot unless the surface needing the disinfection is blocked from the light or the device’s operator does not follow duration or dosage instructions properly. Ultraviolet light in the C spectral band has to be run directly on the object it is meant to disinfect otherwise it will not be effective. This means if you were to use germicidal UV light to disinfect a surface, in order for it to destroy viruses and bacteria, the UVC light should not be blocked in any way.

Chemical cleaning products can be harmful to human respiratory systems, hands, and eyes. This type of exposure is generally unavoidable for the cleaning crew and on a smaller level, other people who are exposed to those surfaces after cleaning.

It is very important to note that UVC light is extremely dangerous to human exposure, but is completely avoidable. It can damage human eyes and skin. To safely use a germicidal UV light device a handler should not expose him or herself to the light.

 

Hospitals use germicidal UV devices that operate when a room is unoccupied.

Hospital leaders have found one of the most efficient and convenient ways of using ultraviolet light as part of an established manual cleaning routine is through a mobile device. Cleaning crew members simply run the germicidal UV light mobile device in an unoccupied room while they wipe down a nearby room. Then, they move the device to another location in need of cleaning after it has completed its disinfection cycle.

 

Hospitals and many other industries also install UVC light in a building’s HVAC system.

When you have UV light for HVAC, germicidal UV light runs through air ducts. Having UVC light installed on your HVAC system is an effective way of keeping a facility’s air disinfected. Using UV light for HVAC systems doesn’t pose any exposure risks if safety procedures are following when maintenance is needed.

According to scientific findings from Berkeley Labs, in a study within three office buildings where UVGI systems installed on HVAC systems were turned on and off multiple times a day, self-reported acute health symptoms decreased by 20 to 40 percent.

 

Another technology that mitigates COVID-19 risk, but won’t harm your employees or customers is HVLS fans.

Air quality is a pertinent step to keeping germs at bay and HVLS fans can help. Without proper ventilation, viruses and bugs are more likely to stay within a building’s stagnant air and create poor indoor air quality. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says increasing the total airflow supply to occupied spaces is one way of lessening the risk of Coronavirus for employees in office buildings.* HVLS can increase airflow supply within the building, which plays a huge part in improving indoor air quality.

 

Does UV light kill COVID-19?

Germicidal UV light is highly likely to be able to inactivate Coronavirus. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), UVC light radiation has been shown to be able to destroy the outer protein coating of SARS-Coronavirus, which is different from the current COVID-19 virus, or SARS-CoV-2 virus. The FDA says UVC light may also be effective in inactivating COVID-19, but at this time the organization has limited data on the wavelength, dose, and duration of the UVC light radiation required to inactive SARS-CoV-2.*

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