UV light technology has existed in various industries including healthcare, water purification, the food industry, and more for many years. These industries use professional UV-C technology and have become skillful at following UV light safety precautions.
However, the destructive effects of COVID-19 have brought the public’s attention to UV light’s germicidal properties. Not only is it a safer alternative to chemical disinfectants, but it can also guarantee up to 99.99% of pathogen inactivation if used properly. This has led to the growing popularity and supply of commercial UV-C light products such as UV cleansers.
While UV cleansers are getting increasingly more popular, the public’s understanding of UV-C light remains limited. Therefore, there are many misconceptions that can lead to poor buying choices and inappropriate use.
Here are some do’s and don’ts that you should keep in mind when buying and using UV cleansers.
UV Light Safety Precautions: The Do’s of Buying and Using UV Cleansers
1.Wear Protective Gear
UV-C light, also known as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), has the shortest wavelength in the ultraviolet spectrum. Its ranges between 200nm and 290nm.
In general, the shorter the wavelength, the more harmful the UV radiation and the more effective and faster are its germicidal effects. This power allows UV-C light to target and scramble the DNA structure of microorganisms and cause cells to die. However, it also makes it more dangerous to humans.
It’s not only bacteria and viruses that have DNA and RNA. So do humans do. Exposure to UV rays without adequate protection is extremely harmful. It can lead to burns, inflammation of the cornea, cataracts, and skin cancer.
Furthermore, UV cleansers that use short UV wavelengths can create ozone from the oxygen in the air, potentially causing lung damage. This can lead to the suppression of the immune system, resulting in infections spreading faster.
Bearing this in mind, it is vital to wear personal protective equipment including UV safety goggles, gloves, UV face shields, and long-sleeved clothing that covers the body while the UV technology is operating.
Some UV-C products claim that they are safe for humans. This is because they use far UVC light; it’s of longer wavelengths (normally between 270nm and 290nm) and, as a result, less intense.
While far UVC light is “safe” for humans, it is also less deadly for pathogens. It can still eradicate up to 99.99% of viruses, bacteria, and germs, but it will require a much longer time, around 25 minutes, to do so when germicidal UV can do that in as little as seconds.
2. Follow Instructions
Many users of new devices do not bother reading manuals. However, manuals with instructions are not there just for fun or to fill the packaging.
As stated in the point above, UV-C light is harmful to humans. It can also cause damage to materials. Therefore, it’s essential to follow instructions to avoid misuse and possible dangers.
Additionally, the manual contains beneficial information for the buyer. It explains how to set up the device as well as how to properly and effectively operate it. It also includes the warranty details and charging guidelines, specifies the exposure time necessary, troubleshooting instructions, warnings, and UV light safety precautions.
UV Light Safety Precautions: The Don’ts of Buying and Using UV Cleansers
1. Don’t Shine at Humans, Animals, and Plants
Exposure to UV-C light has the same effect on animals as it does on humans. So, be very careful not to shine your UV cleanser on your pets.
While you can use UV light to nurture your indoor plants, you need to use the right kind. UV-A and UV-B light can be extremely beneficial to plants. They increase the plants’ resistance to unwanted pests and cause more branching.
Although UV-C light may help sterilize the space where the plants are growing, it can cause damage to the plant’s DNA. So, keep the UV cleanser away from your plants, too.
2. Don’t Buy Cheap UV Cleansers
It may be tempting to buy a $20 UV cleanser. However, it’s essential to realize that by doing so users are sacrificing the quality and value of the product and the health of themselves and their loved ones.
Companies selling cheap UV cleansers advertise illegally, make false promises, provide misleading and incomplete instructions, and lack safety features to prevent improper and irresponsible use. Moreover, many UV cleansers are simply fake, offering a false sense of security.
Companies are selling UV cleansers for such a low price because the public’s demand for such technology is increasing and it brings the company money.
Yet, a simple UV-C blacklight bulb in a thin 3D-printed plastic casing is not necessarily an effective UV cleanser even if it is advertised as such. That is if that’s even real UV-C light that the cleanser is using. Portable handheld UV technology uses (or at least should be using) UV LEDs which can be visually indistinguishable from regular LEDs, misleading the buyer.
We highly recommend you invest in a high-quality, well-reputed UV cleanser. You will be paying more, but at least you’ll be paying for an effective disinfection tool that you can depend on rather than a sense of false security.
3. Don’t Abandon Usual Hygiene Practices
While UV-C light is highly effective at destroying pathogens, you should absolutely not disinfect your hands or other areas of your skin with it for the reasons stated above. The same goes for animals and plants.
And while UV-C technology does help reduce the spread of pathogens, it does not replace hygiene and safety practices. You should still be washing hands, using hand sanitizer, wearing masks, and practicing social distancing.
Remember, UV cleansers just add an extra layer of protection.
In addition to that, UV disinfection does not replace cleaning. If you disinfect areas in your house or workplace with a UV cleanser, it will destroy pathogens, but not remove the dirt. You will still need to clean the area to do that.
UV cleanser market thrives on misinformation and the lack of knowledge on UV light. Many companies sell cheap and ineffective products and do not provide proper use guidelines or UV light safety precautions.
While this allows them to sell their products, it puts buyers in danger that could have been prevented with transparency, better instructions, and higher-quality products.