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 something that's been used for a long time since even before my grandmother was born.
It's been around since the 1800s. It's used in your hospitals for high sterilization levels to reduce the risk of infection, and your produce providers use it 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 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. It is continuously 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 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. 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 incredible 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 can inactivate these pathogens by interfering with them on a molecular level.
It can penetrate the outer layer and essentially scramble its DNA and RNA. This scrambling makes it so that the pathogen can no longer reproduce. It inactivates it and makes it virtually useless.
It's more effective than chemical cleaners because it's not something they can build up a resistance to.
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 appropriately used.
The dangers associated with UV-C light are due to prolonged exposure. That means you need to be in the area for an extended period 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 most 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 time.
Sounds scary, right?
Avoid these side effects by simply not being present during UV-C disinfection or wearing UV-C protective eyewear. 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 in disinfection while saving 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 straightforward to use, and it's excellent at what it does.
End transmission (alright, I'm done with the references).