Ultraviolet technology isn’t new; it’s been used for years in hospitals, research labs and other areas that need to be germ-free.
Now, though, consumers might be noticing that same technology for sale in places like Costco and drugstores. That’s because UV light kills up to 99.9%of germs, bacteria and viruses — and that may include the coronavirus.
The thing about UV light is that it has sufficient energy to cause damage to cells, DNA and other biological material, which can make it a powerful disinfectant against viruses and bacteria.
But before you stock up on UV lamps, there are some things you should know.
The light needs direct exposure to the coronavirus to kill it. That means if the beam of light is blocked by dust, dirt, small crevices or any other impediment, it may not be fully effective.
Also, many of the UV lamps sold for home use are low-dose, so it may take a longer exposure to a surface area to potentially provide effective inactivation of bacteria or viruses. Waving the light quickly over your countertops probably won’t be enough.
Also, it should be noted that you should never look directly at UV light because it can burn your eyes and skin. Finally, consumers should be aware that the light can degrade certain materials like plastic, polymers and dyed textiles.