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Is It Safe to Use UV Lights to Kill Mold & Bacteria?

Lots of great tech has come out to the modern market in order to solve rapidly growing (and preexisting) indoor air quality and environmental issues. But as with all new technology, one big question is always on everyone’s mind: Is it safe? No system comes under more scrutiny than UV light air purifiers, and today the experts at Schneller Knochelmann Plumbing, Heating & Air are here to discuss the issue!

Interested in learning more about whether UV light purifiers are your ideal IAQ solution?

What’s the Fuss All About?

The concerns over UV purifiers are twofold. One fear is that UV light is a type of radiation, which is a pretty scary word if you just toss it out there. And two comes from an issue preliminary and cheaper models had, which was the production of excessive ozone. Ozone in large enough quantities can be detrimental to the health of humans, and so naturally, a lot of questions came up about the machines.

Are UV Lights a Type of Radiation?

They sure are. UV-C, to be exact, is the shortest wavelength of UV radiation and thus has the highest energy. This type of radiation comes into contact with organic materials such as mold and bacteria and begins to break it down, killing the affronting materials and pollutants on contact. This is how UV purifiers work and why they work so well. But are they dangerous to us? Nope!

No link has been made between human illness and UV-C radiation at all (and it has been studied extensively!), mostly because the short-length type of radiation can’t actually penetrate our skin at all. The UV light you’re used to from the sun (the types that cause those nasty sunburns) are actually UV-A and UV-B, which is why purifiers use the safe UV-C instead. Additionally, these systems are installed in your ducts, far removed from anywhere they might make contact with a human in the first place.

UV Lamps & COVID-19

Ultraviolent lamps have become an important part of the fight against COVID-19. The Food and Drug Administration has approved this form of radiation to disinfect air, water, and smooth surfaces. UV lamps were reserved for bacteria, mildew, and mold in the past, but the coronavirus has irrevocably altered the ecosystem. Today, it’s used to inactivate the virus through direct exposure to surfaces in your home. UVC is the hero of the pack, offering more safety than both UVA and UVB. 

Some UVC lamps can irritate the eyes and burn the skin, so you should always avoid direct eye contact with your lamp. UVC has also been implicated in polymer degradation, so it’s best to keep it away from the plastics in your home. In addition, some lamps can create ozone that can irritate your sinuses and throat. These products nonetheless have an important role in the modern home, and their risks are easily avoided.

Avoiding UV Damage

There are three kinds of UV lamps: UVA, UVB, and UVC. Like sunlight, UVA and UVB light can only cause harm after lengthy or repeated exposure. Emissions are easily avoided by limiting contact and wearing eye and face protection. UVC lamps are unlikely to cause harm, so the best way to avoid UV lamp radiation is to stay away from UVB and UVA lights. Most of today’s sanitizing lights make use of far-UVC light: a special variety that can destroy pathogens without damaging your skin and eyes. The FDA has decided to allow UVC disinfectant devices in all health care settings.

Understanding the Difference between Sunlight and UV Lamps

The sun emits powerful UVA and UVB light that damages human DNA. For that reason, too much sunlight can harm your skin and eyes, ultimately causing cancer in an unfortunate few. It’s best to stick to UVC lamps that emit a wavelength too short to make its way between the lamp and your skin. Far UVC light is benign. The light it emits has a narrow range, so it’s not absorbed by living tissue.

What About Ozone?

This is the harder part and part of why UV light systems are looked at with some distrust. Ozone can absolutely cause some health issues, and many UV systems do in fact generate it. In fact, there’s an entire market dedicated to the production of “ozone” or “charged air” purifiers.

However, this was only common to a certain type of tech, as most modern (and most successful/high quality) systems either are protected against generating ozone or incorporate isolation or filtration systems that disperse and filter out the chemical.

To sum up, the most successful models of UV light purifiers are totally safe, extremely good at getting rid of mold and pathogens, and are available to a wide market! You just have to do research to ensure you’re getting a high-quality product, or work with trusted air quality experts to get the right systems.

Safe, Reliable UV Purifiers in Cincinnati, OH

Looking for a leading solution in mold, mildew, and pathogen mitigation for your home or business in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky? We offer quality UV purifiers in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

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