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Kill Household Germs With UVC

Updated on September 12, 2015
How UVC disables DNA
How UVC disables DNA | Source

What Is UVC?

Ultraviolet light is produced by the sun and is invisible to the human eye. It is created in three wavelengths: UVA, UVB and UVC. The first two you have probably heard mentioned in relation to sunscreen. They penetrate the skin and cause tanning or sunburns.

UVC, or germicidal light, does not penetrate the earth’s atmosphere. Because it never reaches the surface, most organisms have never developed a defense against UVC radiation. It is how this tool is able to attack biological irritants like bacteria and viruses.

On the ultraviolet spectrum wavelengths from 200 to 280 nanometers are considered to be UVC light. At the 253.7nm wavelength, UVC penetrates the cell wall and essentially disables the DNA of a microorganism, preventing it from reproducing. Viruses, bacteria, mold spores, flea eggs, dust mites, and bed bugs are all sensitive to the UV spectrum. In fact, there are no known organisms that are immune to UVC exposure. The effectiveness depends on the intensity of the light and the length of time the pathogen is treated.

UVC wavelengths do not penetrate the outer dead layer of skin cells in humans, so is not likely to cause harm to us, but extensive studies have not been done so contact with skin should be avoided. Eyes are especially sensitive to UVC so it should never be pointed at them, but most home-use devices have an auto shutoff to prevent this from happening.

UVC video

Who Would Benefit From UVC?

Nearly every household would benefit from using UVC to disinfect and prevent illness, but it has additional benefits for certain types of individuals.

Immune-comprised people including those with cancer, auto-immune diseases, AIDS, etc.: Preventing illness and infection is vitally important when the body’s immune system is already challenged. A simple cold can be life-threatening. Frequent use of UVC cuts the likelihood that pathogens will enter the home on visitors, supplies, etc. and proliferate.

Allergy and asthma sufferers: “The sixth leading cause of chronic illness in the U.S." according to the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “More than 20% of all adults and children suffer from some allergy.” While UVC will not kill pollen, it can be filtered out of the air by a UVC air purifier. UVC light will eliminate dust mites and their by-products, mold, fungi and spores. Those with asthma are greatly affected by dust mites.

Chemical sensitivity sufferers: More and more people are searching for ways to disinfect without harmful substances. UVC allows homeowners to thoroughly kill germs without using noxious cleaners which is great for the environment. It also wipes out odor-causing bacteria and leaves air fresher without fragrance, a huge problem for this group.

Children: It is no secret that kids spread germs. “Children collect, transfer and carry more germs and bacteria than adults, and at a faster rate” according an article by the Children’s Hospital of St. Louis. Additionally, many youngsters sit or play on the floor. Carpets have been found to be saturated with nasty bacteria tracked in from outside that cause infection or illness.

Elderly: The immune system of older individuals is slower to respond to threats and healing takes longer. For these reasons, avoiding illness is more important in seniors than other sections of the population. Regular use of a UVC lamp can prevent pathogens from compromising health.

Travelers: The hotel bed bug epidemic appears to have diminished, but they can still be found and are very expensive to kill off if they happen to travel home in your luggage. How often hotels wash comforters varies, according to Quora, a hospitality service website, but some are only cleaned once a quarter. Airplanes are thoroughly cleaned after about 100 hours of flight. E.coli and MRSA have been found on planes, with the tray tables having the highest concentrations. It is very easy to throw a travel UVC wand into a bag and use it on headrests, pillows, etc.

Campers appreciate UVC devices too. They can eliminate musty odors and mold on sleeping bags and tents. Questionable water can be treated within seconds to kill giardia and other contaminants.

UVC Reduces the Need for Harmful Household Chemicals

High traffic areas in your home accumulate germs quickly, especially if you have kids. Things like door handles, tv remotes and light switches spread bacteria and viruses all day long. Cell phones, purses, kitchen sinks and sponges have all been found in studies to contain more bacteria than a toilet seat.

Before you buy that next bottle of noxious bathroom cleaner here are a few facts to consider. The chemicals in that bottle are not healthy for you and your family. Cleaners may leave a residue that children or pets might unintentionally ingest. Many toxins are bioaccumulative, which means that they build up over time and remain in the body for years. Even "green" products may have unexpected harmful ingredients.

I'm sure it comes as no surprise that these chemicals are harmful to the environment. Water treatment facilities do not remove ammonia, nitrogen and phosphorus. They enter our waterways and cause marine animal die-offs and algae overgrowth. VOCs pollute the air and cause smog in our cities.

UVC can help in two ways. First, disinfect with a UVC wand instead of bringing home that bottle of chemicals. It is safe, easy to use and cheaper over time. Kill cold and flu germs, food-borne illnesses, and other pathogens throughout the house in a few minutes. Second, use an air purifier with UVC light to clean the air. Germicidal UV is non-polluting and 99.9% effective against harmful biological organisms. It is better for your family's health and the environment.

This article contains more specific information about harmful household chemicals and their effects on the body:


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