How Ultraviolet Light Is Used In Disinfection And Sanitation

Ultraviolet disinfection is a disinfection method that uses short-wavelength ultraviolet light (UV-C) to render microorganisms inactive or kill them by altering their DNA. This method damages the nucleic acids of microorganisms to stop their vital cellular functions.

Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), as it is better known, is used in different industries for water, food, and air purification. UVGI devices produce strong UV-C light, which makes the environment it’s used in to be inhospitable for viruses, molds, bacteria, and so on.

Ultraviolet lights have been used as an effective and efficient disinfection method since the mid-20th century. It was primarily used in the medical sector for sanitation and sterilization of medical facilities.

How Ultraviolet Is Used For Disinfection

UVGI has various applications and uses across so many industries. Some of which include; air disinfection or purification, water disinfection, surface disinfection, etc.

Air Disinfection

UVGI can be used for air disinfection and purification. The air in a particular environment can be purified with ultraviolet light through prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light.

The 1930s and 1940s experiments in Philadelphia public schools showed that the transmission of measles can be reduced among students through air disinfection. Researchers are also going on about how to use UVGI to counter COVID-19.

Disinfection with ultraviolet light is simply a matter of intensity and time. That’s why UV light may not be so effective for disinfecting moving air.

However, UVGI can be more effective for air disinfection if used with an HVAC system to expose more air to the UV source.

Water Disinfection

UV lights can be used for water disinfection and even the treatment of wastewater. Water disinfection with UV is a completely chemical-free process of disinfection as it only involves the exposure of water to ultraviolet lights. The method doesn’t involve adding any chemicals to the water, so it can be very safe and effective for disinfecting water.

Ultraviolet light is very effective against organisms like Giardia or cryptosporidium, which are resistant to chemical-based disinfectants. UV is also used for removing chlorine and chloramine from water with a process called Photolysis.

An example of a water disinfection facility is the Catskill Delaware Water Ultraviolet Disinfection Centre in New York. The facility is the largest water disinfection plant in the world with up to 2.2 billion (US. gallons) of water are treated for drinking every day.

Ultraviolet Shoe Sanitizers

You must already know that shoes typically provide the ideal breeding space for microorganisms that can cause infections like athlete’s foot, etc. These organisms can lead to smelly feet and other fungi or bacteria infections, and so on.

Ultraviolet shoe sanitizers are gadgets that are effective and efficient for cleaning, disinfecting, and sanitizing shoes. These gadgets kill microorganisms that may cause smelly feet and other unwanted foot conditions using UV light. Research shows that Ultraviolet shoe sanitizers can kill and neutralize harmful, disease-causing microorganisms in shoe soles by 99 percent.

Safety Tips: UV light can be very dangerous if not used properly and with caution. UV light can easily cause damage to the skin or eyes. Always avoid any direct contact with the eyes or skin when you want to use a UV light shoe sanitizer. So make sure the UV shoe sanitizer is within the shoe when the light is on.

Surface/Equipment Disinfection

In surface disinfection, UV light is exposed to surfaces of materials, objects, etc., to kill microorganisms that exist on that surface. This is popular in the healthcare sector and even other sectors for disinfecting surfaces of equipment, facilities, etc.

UV disinfection is very effective and efficient than most other cleaning disinfection methods.

UV disinfection doesn’t leave residue or moisture on surfaces which may cause damage to the disinfected material like washing or bleaching could.

Food And Beverage Disinfection

We already know that UV light is effective for surface and water or liquid disinfection. So, the use of UV light in food and beverage disinfection is simply the combination of surface disinfection and water/liquid disinfection.

UV light is effective for disinfecting materials used in food and beverage plants that may be difficult to clean thoroughly using other cleaning methods. For example, conveyor belts can be cleaned and disinfected thoroughly with ultraviolet light without shortening the life of the equipment.

There are several brands and models of UV shoe sanitizers to choose from in the market. It is best to go for the types or models that come with a bag so you can put the shoe in the bag while sanitizing. You should also consider getting a UV shoe sanitizer model that comes with an automatic shutoff feature.

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