What are the risks of UV lamps used for COVID-19 disinfection?
UVC lamps used for disinfection purposes may pose potential health and safety risks depending on the UVC wavelength, dose, and duration of radiation exposure. The risk may increase if the unit is not installed properly or used by untrained individuals.
• Direct exposure of skin and eyes to UVC radiation from some UVC lamps may cause painful eye injury and burn-like skin reactions. Never look directly at a UVC lamp source, even briefly. If you have experienced an injury associated with using a UVC lamp, we encourage you to report it to the FDA.
• Some UVC lamps generate ozone. Ozone inhalation can be irritating to the airway.
• UVC can degrade certain materials, such as plastic, polymers, and dyed textile.
• Some UVC lamps contain mercury. Because mercury is toxic even in small amounts, extreme caution is needed in cleaning a lamp that has broken and in disposing of the lamp.
In a recent example, UV disinfection robots from Danish company UVD Robots were able to learn the layout of some hospitals in China and detect human presence while performing their tasks. These robots would autonomously disinfect areas where hospital staff was not present.
Portable or not, that it’s important to use UVC products carefully, especially in home settings. Any handheld UVC device should never be pointed in the direction of the user. The most important thing to know is that UVC radiations affect the DNA of all living things, including humans and animals. UV Sanitizers lights chambers should always be leak-proof, closed boxes. Users must ensure that they or their pets should never be exposed to UV radiations.