Let's Shine Some Light on UV-C
"That sounds like some sort of spaceship technology" -My Grandmother
UV-C light might sound like something out of a science-fiction movie, but it's actually something that's been used for a long time, since even before my grandmother was born.
It's been around since the 1800's.
It's used in your hospitals for high levels of sterilization to reduce the risk of infection, it's used by your produce providers to clean fruit before it gets to market, and even water treatment facilities around the planet.
And now it's growing in popularity among disinfectants. It's actually outpacing other disinfection methods 2-to-1.
It's getting so much love because of its effectiveness and convenience. It saves people time and money - who doesn't love that?
This leads us to the question - What is UV-C light?
Well, let's take a step back and start with UV light.
UV light is electromagnetic radiation - which is just energy. Energy moves in waves.
Imagine throwing a rock into a calm lake and the ripples that emerge. The waves (ripples) kind of look like that. Always expanding outwards.
We classify energy based on the size of their waves and their frequency. We take that information and spread it over a spectrum.
The spectrum was developed in order to categorize these levels of energy.
UV-C light is close to the same energy wavelength as visible light, although just out of reach to the human eye. It's a subcategory of ultraviolet light and its range on the spectrum is from 280 nanometers to 200 nanometers.
Good luck seeing that with a magnifying glass.
How Does Light Disinfect?
UV-C light is a phenomenal disinfectant.
It sounds crazy, right? Shine some light onto an area and kill all the germs - something you'd expect to see on Star Trek or something. But it's here.
Let's take a look at how it works.
There is a specific type of UV-C light known as 'germicidal UV-C'. This type of UV-C light is the backbone of UV-C disinfection. It's amazing at killing germs (hence the name).
It's a range of UV-C light between 200 & 300 nanometers in wavelength. Peak germicidal UV-C is at 253.7 nanometers and it's a pathogen's worst nightmare.
This germicidal UV-C light is able to inactivate these pathogens by interfering with them on a molecular level. It is able to penetrate the outer layer and essentially scramble their DNA and RNA. It doesn't mess around.
This scrambling makes it so that the pathogen can no longer reproduce, it inactivates it, and makes it essentially useless. It's more effective than chemical cleaners because it's not something that they can build up a resistance too.
Resistance is futile (Star Trek reference. Sticking with the sci-fi theme).
There is some risk to UV-C light, but it’s pretty minor/ nonexistent if used properly.
The dangers associated with UV-C light are due to prolonged exposure. That means you need to be in the area for a long period of time before these side effects begin to show. And you should never be around UV-C light - period.
Prolonged exposure to your skin may cause a slight rash, but the majority of the UV-C light will be absorbed by the dead skin layer - leaving you with mild side effects.
The eyes are very susceptible to UV-C light damage. The light can cause cataracts if exposed for an extended period of time.
Sounds scary, right?
Avoid these side effects by simply not being present during a UV-C disinfection process or wear UV-C protective eye wear. It's that easy.
Here's the reality.
UV-C light is growing in popularity around the country (and the world) due to its effectiveness of disinfection while being able to save people time & money. It's laborless cleaning.
It’s a chemical-free, eco-friendly, and time-saving form of disinfection.
It's not safe to be around so safety precautions are always recommended. We recommend not being in the same area as an active UV-C device, wearing protective goggles near the unit, and just being aware - this can make a huge difference.
In the end it's not spaceship technology, it's really simple to use, and it's great at what it does.
End transmission (alright, I'm done with the references).