Rays of Sunshine
Recently I watched a movie where the main story line was a pandemic – a virus was out, killing people in bulk but it only affected half the population. In order to clean their house of the virus and bacteria they decided to put UV light bulbs everywhere. They had a light purple color to them. Between that and the rise of UV light products on the markets due to current situation, I figured a post about UV light would be appropriate.
To go back to the movie, if it’s actually a UV bulb to disinfect things, just putting them as regular bulbs is a horrible idea. Lets see why.
First off, what is UV light? Ultraviolet light (UV) is invisible to the human eye. For the most part, it is broken down in three types according to their wavelengths – you have UV-A, UV-B and UV-C.
An explanation of UV-A and B and its effects on this skin can be found here: https://www.skincancer.org/risk-factors/uv-radiation/
A good explanation of UV light in general: https://www.livescience.com/50326-what-is-ultraviolet-light.html
Now, coming back to the products, the UV lights sold to disinfect your devices or rooms is UV-C light. While UV-B light gives you a nice tan or cooks you like a lobster, UV-C light is far more harmful. In short, it damages DNA to the point the cell cannot replicate and thus dies. They’re not killed per se but they cannot replicate anymore.
A short guide by a company trying to teach more about UV-C: https://www.klaran.com/klaran-university/about-uvc
Now the danger lies in using it on people. Hence why replacing your regular bulbs in your house with UV ones would be dangerous and hence a big no-no. In short, UV light is present in sunlight. UV-C light should be treated like a concentrated version of the sun – you shouldn’t stare directly at it or let yourself be exposed to it. Even in short amounts, it can cause some burns or other damage.
UV light is used in a few areas. Aside tanning salons UV light has had various uses. More specifically, UV-C light is used to disinfect things from water bottles all the way to hospitals (and now more and more businesses) to disinfect rooms or objects. They even sell little boxes online to disinfect your cell phone through UV light.
A bit more advanced but if you have or bought one and want to try and calculate it’s efficiency, here’s a website that explains how to calculate the process: https://www.klaran.com/time-required-surface-disinfection