From aircraft to buildings, we’ve seen Ultraviolet (UV) technology inactivate pathogens all around us. According to the International Ultraviolet Association, UVC has been used extensively for more than 40 years in disinfecting drinking water, wastewater, air, pharmaceutical products, and surfaces against a whole suite of human pathogens.
We understand more about UCV and FAR-UVC as a technology for cleaning, we spoke to Conrad Kullmann, Founder and Managing Director of FAR UVC Africa. Conrad is an accomplished business leader and entrepreneur with a passion for product development and marketing.
Here is an excerpt from the interview
How does UVC technology work in terms of cleaning and disinfecting?
UVC has been used for decontaminating viruses and bacteria for decades. Its application has varied from water and surfaces to air. It is a fantastic technology that has been well known in the industry for its ability to destroy viruses and pathogens.
Mechanically, UVC kills viruses and bacteria by going into the actual virus and destroying its RNA and DNA. It is the only technology available today that is able to sanitize the air and surfaces at the same time.
During the COVID-19 era, people have been fogging areas or using 70 per cent alcohol to wipe surfaces. Those are great techniques to use but there is nothing besides UVC that can clean both the air and surfaces.
One of the biggest issues of UVC that people know about is the health risk associated with it. People cannot be around normal 254 nanometers UVC. A more recent technology called FAR-UVC, which runs 222 nanometers is becoming the talk of the town because it is the only UVC product you can have that can be used when people are still around. It offers real-time sanitation of air and surfaces in occupied spaces. As we now know, viruses spread mostly through the air, so we should be ideally cleaning the air, especially in closed areas.
Can UVC radiation inactivate the virus that causes COVID-19?
There are many white papers on the efficacy of FAR-UVC and normal UVC to destroy COVID-19. We’ve had our products tested in South Africa against SARS-CoV-2 and it has come across as a vetted case that it does kill COVID-19.
The great thing about using this technology is that it mechanically kills the virus. It doesn’t matter if the virus mutates or if a new virus comes along - it will destroy all viruses and all bacteria that come along.
It would be safe to say that UVC is the best technology against viruses and pathogens because it is non-invasive.
Everyone is tired of going into a restaurant or a shop and spraying their hands with alcohol, which makes them dry. The great thing about FAR UVC is that it doesn’t interfere with anything. Just put it in a closed or public area and it automatically works against these pathogens. It can really help us get our lives back to normal.
How does UVC compare to cleaning chemicals that are traditionally used in various facilities?
The biggest issue I have got with cleaning chemicals is the damage it does to our environment. From the plastic bottles that are thrown away to the thousands of pollutants that are being dumped into the oceans. Leaving that aside, cleaning must always happen and the biggest issue here is that we need a multi-layered approach to cleaning. UVC and FAR UVC takes out any human error.
People will clean tabletops and other surfaces but they are always going to miss a little space here and there. Another issue is that if you clean a table now and somebody coughs or sneezes, it’s contaminated again. In fact, contamination happens to you all the time and facilities need technologies that provide continuous sanitation.
As far as UVC is concerned, if you take a 150-watt UVC lamp at a distance of 2.5 meters away, it kills the COVID-19 virus every 9 minutes. It’s like fogging and cleaning the concerned area every 9 minutes.
Is it safe to use UVC in public facilities?
Normal UVC, if installed in a public facility has to work on a mechanism that if it senses any movement, switches off instantly because it is cancerogenic and unsafe. It even harms your eyes and has a lot of safety issues linked to it. Even though UVC is an incredible technology, its only issue is that you cannot have people around it. Today, you need to clean the air and surfaces when people are around, not when they are not. That is where FAR UVC comes in. The great thing about FAR UVC is that it offers continuous cleaning and sanitation and it is so relevant in today’s time and age.
UVC and FAR UVC are incredible technologies and as more and more facilities look to adopt them, they could be the solution to a COVID-safe return to normal.
This is a brief excerpt from Cleaning Technology Talks. View the entire session here: