Look up in the sky – it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s UV-C!
Our sun has invisible powers – it kills bacteria and other pathogens bathing in its rays. The power of light has been a recognized weapon against pathogens for decades.
“Mama always told me not to look into the eye of the sun. But Mama, that’s where the fun is!”
– Bruce Springsteen
Like any powerful disinfectant, it can be dangerous if not utilized properly. UV-C is a spectrum of light, a subset of a broader spectrum of energy that radiates from natural and man-made mechanisms like the sun, mercury and LED lamp sources.
As we continue to battle the threat of COVID, but contemplate future threats, UV-C is on the threshold of being harnessed as an infrastructure, an integrated, layer of protection, across the broad landscape of transmission routes organisms travel to infect us. While UV-C is already used for water and surface disinfection, especially in critical medical facilities, it is rapidly gaining adoption to disinfect air, environmental surfaces, and even the food we eat across any and all environments (airports, retail establishments, corporate offices, etc.).
UV-C is powerful, lethal to our pathogenic foes, and is part of the answer of ‘How do we prepare ourselves against a future “COVID”? It turns out though, that Bruce Springsteen’s Mom was right, light can be dangerous if not handled properly. Especially to the eyes and skin. As the revolution of UV-C implementation comes to our environments, it will be important for implementors and consumers to understand the danger of human exposure to certain wavelengths, thresholds of dose, and more importantly, that the correct wavelengths are utilized for the intended effects without harm. Product design, wavelength selection, time and persistence of dose must all be considered.
UV-C is a powerful, effective, and important part of establishing a safe environmental infrastructure for our future; however, know your tech before implementing. Be prepared, create safe environments, safely.