UV-C Light Disinfection: An Effective Method for Killing COVID-19?

While proper disinfection has always been a top priority for healthcare institutions, the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought attention to the ways in which viruses, bacteria, and other harmful microbes can be effectively eliminated from all kinds of facilities. Here at The Budd Group, we are committed to delivering the latest, optimal disinfecting solutions to our clients. This is why, in addition to using traditional disinfecting methods (i.e. applying EPA-approved products and wiping surfaces), barrier technology (antimicrobial surface treatments), and misting/fogging techniques, we also offer UV-C light disinfection services. Before incorporating UV light disinfection, you need to know if it's safe and effective and whether or not your facility will benefit from it. Here is what our disinfection experts have learned about using UV lights for room disinfection.

Understanding UV-C Light

To understand UV light as a disinfectant, you must understand UV-C light, or ultraviolet C radiation itself. Ultraviolet light refers to light waves with shorter wavelengths than visible light, but longer wavelengths than X-rays. The sun produces UV radiation, which can be broken down into three main categories ranging from least to most energetic: UV-A, UV-B, and UV- C rays. When exposed to sunlight, our skin mostly receives UV-A rays, which can lead to wrinkles, age spots, etc. UV-B rays, on the other hand, can cause sunburn and lead to skin cancer, as these rays are capable of damaging DNA. Lastly- UV-C radiation is the most destructive of all, though the sun’s UV-C rays are absorbed by the atmosphere before naturally reaching our bodies. For safe and healthy disinfecting, UV light is a viable choice. When generated via filtered excimer lamps, it's been proven to act as a powerful germicide (thanks to ultraviolet germicidal irradiation).

Using UV-C Light as a Disinfectant

The thought of trying this method at home is appealing, but UV light disinfection use is risky unless it's installed and operated by professional disinfection technicians. More specifically, far-UV-C radiation (between 207 and 222 nanometers) can effectively deactivate bacteria and disinfect areas in a matter of minutes without negatively affecting one’s skin. A recent study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Publish Health titled, “Evaluation of an Ultraviolet C (UVC) Light-Emitting Device for Disinfection of High Touch Surfaces in Hospital Critical Areas,” concluded that UV-C-based no-touch surface decontamination technologies can enhance a facility’s infection control efforts. Additionally, these researchers found that pulsed-UV technology reduced the number of bacteria in healthcare facilities more effectively than mere manual disinfection practices.

Can UV-C Light Kill Coronavirus?

Of course, the big question being asked by disinfection cleaning companies and their clients is whether UV-C light can safely and effectively destroy COVID-19. In short, UV-C radiation does have the potential to mitigate COVID-19, and the CDC recommends ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) as one meaningful method to minimize the spread of airborne microbes, including coronavirus 2019. Of course, there are some caveats. First, proper setup and implementation of UV-C light disinfection must be practiced to ensure the safety of all personnel and guests who might become exposed. Additionally, UV-C light must not be used directly on the skin. If an individual has already been infected by COVID-19, direct UV-C light exposure will only cause harm. Lastly, the jury is still out on how quickly or effectively UV-C disinfecting techniques stop COVID-19 from growing or spreading. More research has to come to a stronger conclusion on this matter.

UV-C Light Disinfection vs Other Methods

Longtime pioneers in UV light disinfection, hospitals, and healthcare facilities have seen promising results. But you might be wondering if UV-C light is necessary to improve your building's cleaning and sterilization protocols? UV-C light disinfection is worth considering for facilities with concerns regarding dampness (present when spraying or fogging), as this method is completely dry. Still, as previously mentioned, this form of disinfection, while effective on its own, is best used in tandem with other methods, such as wiping surfaces with EPA-approved disinfectant. If you’re in the healthcare industry, Diversey’s highly effective, non-toxic MoonBeam3™ UV-C disinfection system provides several benefits for patients and staff, including strong, adjustable coverage and penetration, compatibility with multiple surfaces, and low cost. When properly implemented, MoonBeam3 can deliver disinfection in just a few minutes.

The Verdict

Regardless of your industry, now is the perfect time to reestablish your commitment to proper infection control. If possible, UV-C light disinfection can be a powerful ally in mitigating COVID-19, influena, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), and several other microscopic materials that might hurt your people and your business. Let the residential and commercial cleaning experts at The Budd Group help you determine whether this disinfection technology is right for your facility.

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