Alarm over consumer UV-C systems for Covid-19

September 10, 2020 // By Nick Flaherty
Alarm bells ring over consumer UV-C systems for Covid-19
The Lighting Industry Association in the UK and the Global Lighting Association have both raised concerns about UV-C consumer disinfection systems to tackle Covid-19

Two lighting industry associations have raised concerns about UV-C Covid-19 disinfecting systems aimed at consumers and small businesses

UVC light has long been used as a measure for sanitisation of air, surfaces and water and is known to kill bacteria and viruses when used correctly. During the coronavirus pandemic there has been an increasing interest in the topic, with UV-C LED suppliers maintaining the technology is safe.

The Lighting Industry Association (LIA) in the UK says it has become aware over recent months of a significant number of devices appearing on the market, many targeted at consumers and small businesses, which are potentially dangerous. UVC light can pose a hazard to human health if not used correctly and members of the public are advised not to purchase any UV-C products without seeking third party assurances that they are safe for use.

The LIA differentiates these from professional devices available from reputable manufacturers which are designed to be operated safely and effectively but these are generally for specialist applications by trained operators.

Dr Gareth John at the LIA has been working to understand the value as well as dangers of UV-C light in the fight against bacteria and viruses including membership of the International UV Association (IUVA). The organisation has tested a number of devices claiming to kill viruses and has reported the outcomes to the relevant market surveillance authorities where safety concerns have been identified. Public Health England has also tested a number of similar devices and have raised concerns over their safety and effectiveness.

Through membership of LightingEurope, the LIA has joined a Global Lighting Association task force to publish guidance on UV-C, its effectiveness, hazards and information on devices and applications. This is expected to be adopted by IEC.

Next: GLA concerns over UV-C

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