Are Desktop UV Lamps Effective for Room Disinfection?
Given the global state of affairs, there are a lot of conversations about the importance of disinfecting, and innovative methods to do so. Here we’ll bring you up to speed on one such approach: desktop UV lamps for room disinfection.
The Right Type
UV-C is the only spectrum of UV light that has germicidal potential (1) and there is only a specific range, between 240-280 nanometers, in which the light is most effective at killing microbes.(2)
UV-A and UV-B rays have little effect on microbes. This means that to be most effective for killing germs, a disinfecting UV lamp must emit UV-C light in the 240-280 nm spectrum.
UV-C radiation has been used to disinfect air and drinking water (3) and it has been applied in hospital environments, though its use is “limited to destruction of airborne organisms or inactivation of microorganisms on surfaces. (4) From this we gather that the right type of UV light can kill microbes in the air and on surfaces that are exposed to the radiation. However, it should be noted that any area shielded from the rays will be unsterilized, so there is no guarantee of 100% disinfection.
We Know For Certain
UV-C radiation is bad for organic things; it breaks down the DNA of cells on a molecular level. For the same reason that it’s used to disinfect, you should never be in the same room when a disinfecting UV lamp is turned on. Even momentary exposure can be harmful, so don’t purchase one that doesn’t allow you to turn it on remotely.
Combined with other practices to ensure total disinfection, lamps that emit UV-C light on the right spectrum can play a role in room disinfection. As long as proper care is taken to avoid human exposure to the rays, a desktop UV lamp can be a good thing to have.
As the CDC has recommended: “More research is required to clarify the effectiveness and reliability of...UV irradiation.” (5)
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1 https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/coronavirus/can-uv-light-kill-the-coronavirus-experts- break-down-online-claims-1.4885104
2 https://www.cdc.gov/infectioncontrol/guidelines/disinfection/disinfection- methods/miscellaneous.html#anchor_1554329810