UV sterilisation: products that work (without the risks)

Like & share this news article:

  Posted by: electime      28th June 2021

UV light can kill 99.0 per cent or airborne viruses, making it a powerful tool in the fight against Covid-19. Yet while UV devices are already widely used in medical settings to disinfect equipment, operating theatres and PPE, their mainstream use has been limited: until recently. Since the beginning of the pandemic, demand for UV sterilisation in commercial and public spaces has surged, and the number of UV solutions on the market has climbed with it.

However, not every device claiming to offer UV sterilisation is created equal. Both safety and efficacy vary wildly and, unfortunately, some products are being sold and used incorrectly.

So how can you correctly harness the power of UV light in the fight against Covid-19 for your commercial customers? As lighting specialists, Red Arrow have selected the safest and most effective UV air filtration products to enable electricians and contractors to offer their clients UV solutions that work, without jeopardising wellbeing.

Here, we explain how UV sterilisation products work, and how to choose the right product for your premises.

The three types of UV light

There are three types of UV light: UVA, UVB and UVC:

  • UVA (long wave ultraviolet) makes up about 95 per cent of sunlight. It’s linked to skin damage and aging.
  • UVB (short wave ultraviolet) is at the middle of the UV light spectrum, and makes up about 5 per cent of sunlight. It contributes to sunburn and skin cancers.
  • UVC is the most energetic, and the most damaging, but is largely absorbed by the Earth’s ozone. It is this type of light that is most effective at killing viruses, bacteria and pathogens. In a study published by the American Journal of Infection, exposure to UVC light from man-made sources completely inactivated coronavirus in 9 minutes.

How UVC works in sterilisation

UVC is used in germicidal lamps and devices for its photolytic effect on DNA: in simple terms, it damages the DNA of micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, mould) to either kill or inactivate them.

UVC devices can be a practical, and more consistent, alternative to using sprays and fumigators on a daily basis: they continue working throughout the day, replace the need for harsh chemicals and have lower maintenance costs (you don’t need someone to manually operate them, aside from turning a device on or off).

Buying the right UVC Products

As effective as UVC light is at destroying viruses, bacteria and pathogens, it’s important that is used correctly to keep people safe: not just from Covid-19, but from harmful UV rays. Direct exposure to UVC, such as from an exposed source like a lamp, can cause eye and skin damage, as well as potentially causing some textiles and plastics to degrade over time.  Some UVC lamps can also emit small amounts of harmful UVB radiation, or even generate ozone that can aggravate respiratory problems. As such, many of the UVC products sold for domestic or general use are lower in intensity, taking longer to kill harmful microbes, and therefore being less effective for their intended use.

With those risks in mind, how can we use UVC in a way that eradicates viruses, bacteria and pathogens but doesn’t endanger users or occupants?

UVGI air filtration

The safest way to utilise UVC lighting is as a component of air sterilisation. When UVC technology is built into a UVGI air filtration system, microbes are exposed to UV rays, but people are not.

The KTII Medical Grade Dual Mobile Air Sterilisation System, available from Red Arrow, uses a multiple barrier approach to air purification. Combining the largest medical grade HEPA14 filter (18m2) and an Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation Chamber (UVGI), the KTII first filters and captures 99.97% of viruses, bacteria and pathogens before rupturing, disrupting and destroying microbial DNA within the UVGI chamber to sterilise the air. With a coverage of 150m2, it’s suitable for use in boardrooms, meeting rooms, social spaces, open plan and cellular offices.

The KTIII Medical Grade Air Steriliser also offers dual technology: combining a UVGI chamber and a medical grade HEPA13 filter, it is best suited to slightly smaller spaces, with a 90m2 coverage.

RA have partnered with So Pure Air, investing heavily in predictive Sterilized Air distribution software ‘SPA tm’ to ensure that clients can make informed decisions about the correct number of units and positioning in their businesses

Both products also benefit from being quiet to run, making them a low-impact choice for workplaces, and can be controlled remotely via the TUYA App. You can find out more about both products, and how to use them, at www.redarrowtrading.com.

Why invest in UV sterilisation equipment?

DR Mark Ryan, Head of the WHO Emergencies Program, recently commented that countries need to learn to live with coronavirus in the long-term, adding that Covid-19 is ‘not necessarily the big one’. The more that governments and businesses can do to focus on hygiene and reduce potential for viral transmission in public and commercial places, the better prepared the world can be for any future outbreaks.

Physicist Christian Kahler, an expert in aerosol production and dynamics, believes that mobile air purifiers will play a crucial role in long-term virus transmission management in buildings, as they are more effective than simply opening windows for circulation, and more energy efficient than mechanical systems that circulate air from outside.

Even with vaccination programmes well under way, the issue of indoor air quality remains a priority – and will continue to be a focal point for businesses and governments long into the future.