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UVC disinfection

UVC (ultraviolet light) has been used for killing bacteria for decades, but it is not resurgent largely because of Covid. It kills bugs very effectively. The trouble is it it can also be dangerous because doses above certain levels can initiate cancer.

There are a few simple statement that clearly show why UVC is so wonderful if the objective is to kill bacteria, but so dangerous if allowed to hit living matter:

  • UVC is not present in our atmosphere – the Ozone layer absorbs it
  • UVC attacks and breaks up DNA, which is why it kills bacteria so thoroughly
  • Most of the living matter in our bodies reproduces itself according the encoded DNA. If this DNA is broken up by UVC, the body can start reproducing DNA incorrectly, which is effectively what cancer is.
  • Dead material, such as the layer of dead skin we all have, protects us from UVC because our bodies don’t try to reproduce it. It doesn’t matter if it is attacked by UVC.
  • In order to determine what’s safe it is both the level of UVC and the time that are important. Whilst the dead matter (skin) is being destroyed, we are safe. 
So, there are many applications where there really isn’t a problem as long as humans are kept of the effective field of the UVC – on the ceilings of washrooms, under cooker hoods (used for getting rid of grease). 
UVC can be provided by mercury lamps (the old traditional, and somewhat cheaper way), or LEDs. LEDs are getting a lot of attention because they are becoming cheaper and are very easily incorporated into electronic control circuits. 
If you have a UVC product that you’d like some advice about, please don’t hesitate to Contact Us.