Ultraviolet light is emitted by the sun and human-made sources and is a type of electromagnetic radiation.
“UV (Ultraviolet) Light refers to the region of the electromagnetic spectrum between visible light and X-rays, with a wavelength falling between 400 and 10 nanometers,” says the Stanford Solar Center.
For decades, ultraviolet light has been used for medical and commercial applications because some types of UV light types can kill germs. Now, in view of the global pandemic, more research is being done to define UV light’s role in sanitization.
It is important to note that using any sanitization method to clean surfaces in your home or disinfect your devices will not replace the need to follow basic COVID-19 safety guidelines. Frequent handwashing, social distancing, and wearing a mask remain the primary ways to battle the pandemic’s spread.
Still, what is UV light? Can UV light kill bacteria and viruses? How can UV light be used safely?
Types of UV Light
According to the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA), there are four classifications of ultraviolet light measured by their wavelength range in nanometers.
Here are the four types of UV light:
- UVA - 315 - 400 nanometers
- UVB - 280 -315 nanometers
- UVC - 200- 280 nanometers
- Vacuum UV - 100 -200 nanometers
“The portion of the UV spectrum (the ‘germicidal’ region) that is important for the disinfection of water and air is the range that is absorbed by DNA (RNA in some viruses). This ‘germicidal range’ is approximately 200-300 nm, with a peak germicidal effectiveness at about 260 nm,” says the IUVA.
By these measurements, UVC light can kill germs and even damage the DNA or RNA of some viruses.
Does UV Light Kill Viruses?
Exposure to specific wavelengths of UV light can effectively disinfect surfaces, air, and water.
Ultraviolet light is now being used for sanitization in the public sector, such as water supplies, HVAC systems, airplanes, and healthcare facilities. The use of UV technology is also gaining traction in the private sector, including UV water bottles and electronic device sanitizers.
Scientists are also keen to understand how ultraviolet radiation may be used in killing coronaviruses.
While researchers have shown that UVC light can inactivate certain airborne viruses, the FDA says, “Currently there is limited published data about the wavelength, dose, and duration of UVC radiation required to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus.”
Still, in a recent study conducted by the Pathogen and Microbiome Institute (PMI)’s COVID-19 Testing Service Center (CTSC) at Northern Arizona University, the Puritize home sanitizing system, which uses UVC light technology, was found to effectively kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses on personal items including SARS-CoV2, as reported in a press release from Puritize posted by the Arizona Bioindustry Association.
Is UVC Light Safe?
The safety of ultraviolet radiation hinges mainly on how the light is used.
“Ultra-violet (UV) lamps should NOT be used to disinfect hands or other areas of your skin,” warns the World Health Organization, explaining “UV radiation can cause skin irritation and damage your eyes. Cleaning your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or washing your hands with soap and water are the most effective ways to remove the virus [referring to SARS-CoV-2].”
Exposure to UV radiation can cause skin cancer and should thus be avoided altogether.
While human skin and eyes should not be exposed to UVC light, ultraviolet radiation may still be used in sanitizing air, water, and surfaces with proper safety precautions.
UV Light Sanitizers for Home
Amidst the pandemic, the global market is flush with a wide variety of UVC light sanitizers. Given the above safety risks, it’s essential to avoid ultraviolet light products that could cause human exposure to UVC radiation.
Regarding the use of UV products for cleaning CPAP machine equipment, the FDA says, “UV light may be used to disinfect surfaces in a setting where UV light does not escape to the surroundings. If products generating UV light do not shield the user from exposure, they pose a potential health hazard depending on the wavelength, intensity, and exposure time.”
No doubt, this safety principle applies to other UV products, including products designed to sanitize personal items in the home.
Ultraviolet lamps used for sanitization should be wholly enclosed when used, meaning the light has no way to reach human skin or eyes. Many hand-held or portable UV sanitization devices, such as UVC wands, put users at risk of exposure since the device can easily be mishandled, exposing the user to harmful UV radiation.
However, self-enclosed UV sanitization devices, such as UV boxes, can prevent a user from ever being exposed to the light.
Puritize UV Light Sanitizer
While nothing can replace thorough handwashing with soap and water, some items in your home cannot be sanitized in the sink.
Think of the things you touch throughout your day, like your phone, wallet, bank cards, and car keys. These items come into contact with many germs, and they are often overlooked when disinfecting our surroundings.
Standard healthcare safety procedures remain the most effective way to prevent the spread of disease. However, the Puritize UV sanitizer system can give you added peace of mind by disinfecting your personal items.
The Puritize UV light sanitizer has been engineered with built-in safety mechanisms to prevent UV exposure to users. With the Puritize box, you simply place household objects within the waffle-like grid and close it. The Puritize system will switch on automatically and disinfect your items within ten minutes.
Complete with a programmable lock for added safety, the Puritize UV sanitizer will never turn on when open, ensuring you will not risk exposure. This electrically powered UV light sanitization system is designed for domestic use and is large enough to disinfect many common items in the home.
With double-patented technology, the Puritize system can effectively disinfect electronic devices while charging them at the same time through built-in USB ports. Beyond cleaning your phone and tablet, the Puritize sanitizer can work to remove harmful bacteria and viruses from your masks, cosmetic tools, children’s toys, and more.