In our recent article on using UV light to disinfect, we touched a bit on far-UVC. The technology has so much potential that we wanted to look at it a bit deeper.
What Is Far-UVC?
UV light comes in multiple forms. UVA and UVB are the rays we’re most concerned with at UV Skinz. These types of ultraviolet light cause sunburns and skin cancer.
A third type of UV light is UVC. UVC is very hazardous. It can give you a burn that would normally take hours in a matter of seconds. Luckily, our atmosphere stops most UVC before it reaches us.
UVC is also hazardous to viruses and bacteria. It has long been used in devices to sterilize everything from hospital rooms to cell phones. Unfortunately, that can never be done with people present due to the dangers.
Over the past decade, scientists have been working with ultraviolet light at a particular wavelength called far-UVC. Far-UVC has the disinfecting properties of UVC but is safe for people. It is also faster and more efficient than UVC sterilization.
Why Is It So Exciting?
Far-UVC could completely change how we battle airborne diseases. Harmless, inexpensive far-UVC lights could be installed anywhere to combat viruses like seasonal influenza, H1N1, and potentially COVID-19. It can even destroy many drug-resistant bacteria like tuberculosis.
The commercial application for far-UVC light is extensive. Offices, schools, airports, arena, and malls could have permanent fixtures continuously sterilizing the air. Far-UVC works so quickly that it could be used to disinfect an entire theater in between movies.
Where Can I Get One?
Not so fast, the technology is very young and quite expensive. Most current devices are purely for commercial uses.
Devices like the Germbuster 5000 by Hepacart continuously sterilize hospitals. It can be wheeled into patient, operating, or waiting rooms. With up to 10% of surgeries leading to infections, this technology can be a lifesaver.
Far-UVC light disinfecting
Photo courtesy of Healthe
Healthe has introduced an entire system for continuously disinfecting buildings. A combination of new lights and existing fluorescent fixture retrofitting allows for complete coverage. They even offer an entry “Portal” that disinfects people as they enter the building.
Far-UVC is still too expensive for mainstream consumer adoption. This should change as the technology improves and more vendors enter the market.
Far-UVC looks like it will be a massive gamechanger in the near future. The days of enjoying dinner at a restaurant with air disinfected by far-UVC light is very close.