There are three types of ultraviolet rays: UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C, each of which has its own distinct wavelength. UV-C is the most effective option for eliminating viruses and germs, with a 99.9% sanitizing effect on an array of microorganisms. It is also environmentally friendly. Since the early 1930s, people have been taking advantage of the sanitizing properties of UV-C in both household and industrial settings.
History of UV-C Light Usage
The first mention of using UV light for sanitation purposes came in 1878 when Thomas P. Blunt and Arthur Downes proposed the idea of using it to reduce pathogen transmission. Several decades later, in 1936, Duke University Hospital doctor Deryl Hall experimented by using UV-C light to disinfect an operating room. Post-operative infection rates dropped by approximately 11%.
This technology spread as researchers continued discovering its benefits. People began using UV light to disinfect air and water. The use of this technology has continued into the present day in a range of different applications. Hospitals utilize UV-C light-emitting robots to disinfect areas such as operating rooms and patient rooms. Many companies are also using this technology to sanitize public transportation, such as planes, buses, and trains, between each use.
Benefits of Using UV-C Light for Sanitization
UV-C light has several advantages that set it apart from other sanitizing options. It is non-toxic and environmentally friendly, as it does not involve the use of chemicals. Rather, it is a physical process that works directly on the DNA systems of various microorganisms*. This means that it is possible to repeatedly use UV-C sanitizers without the risk of bacteria becoming immune.
Additionally, UV-C sanitization is very low maintenance and affordable. Unlike many other sanitizer options, UV light technology is a one-time purchase that continues to function effectively for long periods without the need for continual maintenance or re-purchasing.
How does UV-C Light Work?
Rather than killing pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, UV-C light functions by deactivating their DNA. UV-C light forms covalent bonds between adjacent bases within the DNA. This causes damage to the nucleic acid, preventing the DNA from unzipping. Microorganisms are then unable to multiply and will die as soon as they try to replicate.