"I cannot stress enough that these specifically designed UVC light sources are not safe for humans or pets.”
Ultraviolet light (UVC) sanitizing wands are flooding the COVID-cleaning market, and I’m more than a little concerned. Touted as a means of cleaning COVID19 germs out of… everything (your workstation, office, skin), here's what's even more unsettling. Sellers of these "magic wands" are advertising relentlessly to mission-critical facilities, including dispatch and command and control centers.
Before you even touch a UVC sanitizing wand, read this.
So what is UVC anyway?
UVC comes from the sun and is 100% filtered out by our atmosphere going through the ozone. Here on earth, UVC appears in mercury lamps, welding torches—and now, in these new UVC light sanitizing wands.
Here are the three things you need to know before you touch a UVC sanitizing wand:
1. UVC light is dangerous to humans.
“There’s only one type of UV that can reliably inactive Covid-19—and it’s extremely dangerous,” says Dan Arnold of UV Light Technology. UV light 254nm+ is bad for humans, posing dangers to the skin and eyes, from ulcers, blisters, and lesions to arc eye, a painful eye condition that affects welders working without a welding mask. “Far-UVC light (UVC light 207-222nm) can kill germs without harming human tissue, but is not on the market, as extensive testing is still needed.
2. Your facility is different from a hospital when it comes to cleaning COVID-19 germs.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that because hospitals use UVC to clean their facilities and equipment, it’s safe. Hospitals are using robots to blast hospital rooms with industrial, 24-7 machines when there are no people present. A sanitizing “wand,” by definition, requires someone to hold it. “UVC is very carcinogenic,” says Dr. Steven Q. Wang, MD, director of dermatology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. “I cannot stress enough that these specifically designed UVC light sources are not safe for use on humans or pets."
3. Waving a wand over your workstation is useless.
UV light is only effective in extremely large doses. To do this safely and effectively, it would take 30 minutes of moving the wand around each station. The room must be evacuated, save the one person manning the wand—not exactly an option in a 24/7 work environment. This person would need specialized training and gear, including two layers of clothing, leather gloves, a full-face mask, and special UVC-rated glasses. A welding helmet is another option.
The Bottom Line on UVC sanitizing wands is this:
- There’s no such thing as a "magic wand" when it comes to cleaning COVID-19 germs from your mission-critical operations center. Using UVC to clean germs can do more harm than good when it comes to the health and safety of your workers.
- "Far-UVC" devices may eventually become a safer option after rigorous testing is completed; HOWEVER, the vast majority of the UVC lamps on the market don't use far-UVC because it hasn't been tested on actual humans. It won't likely be available in time for the current pandemic.
- Save the $70-$150 you’d spend on a UVC sanitizing wand. Spend it on safe, effective cleaners and disinfectants, instead. I personally like the Force of Nature product offered by Communication Center Specialists.
- Practice due diligence in finding the right methods for keeping employees safe and healthy. Cleaning your center and checking temperatures are the first steps.
- Enlist the services of a certified, commercial cleaning company that is trained in cleaning secure and mission-critical workspaces.
The future is now, and right now, UVC is NOT a safe solution for cleaning COVID-19 germs in 24/7 operations centers.
Want more information on protecting your mission-critical team from COVID-19 germs? Contact us today.