The facts and myths around UV disinfection using UV light13.05.2021

UV-disinfection

The technology used in UV disinfection is often misunderstood, but for a good reason. 

The details that need to be considered when looking into using any type of UV light are plentiful.

Here we have put together some solid facts as a ‘mythbuster’ to help clear up some misunderstandings, to reassure that using UV light as part of UV disinfection within consumer appliances is safe.

UV light is a tried and trusted method that can be an effective and safe alternative to fighting the coronavirus pandemic when applied correctly.

Myth #1: UV disinfection is super-effective at killing bacteria and viruses in general

True. UV-C light is used to inactivate airborne pathogens, including viruses, bacteria and fungi. As UV-C doesn’t reach the earth, no bacteria and viruses have developed resistance against it, and that’s why it is so effective at killing bacteria.

UV-C is a specific range of invisible light that has been known to have disinfectant properties for decades. UV-C radiation destroys the genetic material of the pathogens to the point where they cannot reproduce or multiply.

UV-C disinfection was primarily abandoned because of the rise of antibiotics and vaccines. However, alongside using vaccines, UV-C technology could be one alternative to killing viruses.

Myth #2: UV disinfection technology is new

False. Another misconception is that germicidal UV disinfection is a new and unproven technology. UV technology has been successfully applied to indoor air disinfection since at least the late 1930s. It is approved for use in the control of tuberculosis by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

UV light’s effectiveness in sterilisation led to all of Moscow’s Metro trains being sterilised using UV light when COVID-19 became a threat last spring. China adopted a similar practice, where buses were parked in hangars equipped with industrial-sized UV light to cleanse them overnight.

Myth #3: UV-C is harmful to humans

True. Direct exposure to UV-C light is dangerous to humans.

When it comes into direct contact with human skin, UV-C light can cause severe burns to the skin and eyes.

UV-C technology, including commercial, industrial and medical use, encases UV-C light within LEDs meaning direct exposure to UV-C does not occur. For instance, Respiray’s device is fully light-sealed which means that UV-C light does not escape and is very safe for wearers.

Myth #4: All UV light (including UV-A and UV-B) is effective against viruses

Partially true. Ultraviolet radiation from UV-B and UV-A radiation is generally much less effective than UV-C radiation at inactivating viruses and killing bacteria. It’s believed the same would apply to the current coronavirus threat.

It’s accepted that UV-A is less hazardous than UV-C to human skin and eyes when exposed directly, but with that comes the fact that it’s also around 1000x less effective. UV-A is also known to cause skin cancer and premature skin ageing.

There is some evidence that UV-B light effectively deactivates a range of viruses but it is about 50x less effective than UV-C. 

Myth #5: UV-C devices are unsafe

False. The design of the device is a crucial factor in whether it is safe for consumer use.

When you use a UV-C device in your home or office, most have been made by reputable manufacturers like our company with rigid safety protocols and design standards to ensure the device is safe. 

Devices like Respiray’s are assembled with a host of safety guidelines in mind. Stringent testing and science-based safety procedures behind our development process ensure the product is 100% safe. 

The secure design prevents any UV-C radiation from escaping from our device. Only the air that passes through the encased chamber is exposed to the radiation. 

Myth #6: UV-C disinfection produces ozone that can be very harmful

Some do. (But not ours). While at some wavelengths, the energy of UV light can produce ozone, this only happens at below 242 nm.

Reassuringly, Respiray uses a frequency of 265 nm. So it does not produce ozone.

Furthermore, at wavelengths of 242-315 nm, ozone is actually broken back into oxygen molecules instead, reducing the ambient ozone in the air. 

We have also thoroughly measured our device with ozone meters to ensure that there are no ozone emissions.

Myth #7: UV-C LEDs require frequent maintenance

False


In recent years, the UV LEDs’ power density has significantly increased and they use much less energy compared to old school mercury lamp technology. These new generation LEDs are energy-efficient, non-toxic, maintenance-free with true germicidal performance and mercury-free peace of mind. 

UV-C LEDs have a much higher lifetime than ordinary UV lamps that require annual replacement. Depending on the manufacturer, UV-C LEDs last for 3-3.5 years.

Respiray’s wearable air purifier uses the highest quality Crystal IS Klaran LEDs owned by the world-renowned Asahi Kasei Group. Our device is a one-time investment that lasts at least 3 years and is much more sustainable than single-use face masks. 

UV disinfection, more fact than myth

UV light has been widely used as a disinfectant for some time now. That said, there are still a number of myths floating about how UV disinfection works. As keeping our surroundings clean and germ-free becomes increasingly important, it is essential to dispel these myths.

UV disinfection with UV-C LEDs is a reliable, chemical-free, cost-effective, easy way to keep your environment clean at all times. 

UV-C light does not produce ozone so does not harm the environment and enables many of us to feel protected from harmful viruses, bacteria and pathogens.

Respiray’s air purifier is not medical-grade Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). In circumstances where medical-grade Personal Protective Equipment is recommended, you should consult a healthcare professional. Please remember that our wearable air purifier does not replace the recommended measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Follow the latest guidelines and rules of your local authorities and health care professionals.

If you want to know more about the research and technology behind our product, please visit the FAQ section of our website.