Sterilizing and disinfecting surfaces with UV light to kill bacteria and germs is not a new practice; it has been in use since the 1950s. In 1903, a Danish physicist plus scientist was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to cure tuberculosis with UVC light. Now, at home, hospitals, offices,
shopping malls, and other public places, disinfection, and decontamination is done through the technique of Ultraviolet light for stopping the bacteria and germs to transmit the diseases. UV light has been proven to be effective in killing germs and bacteria, and it is available in different
accessible forms like portable wands, lamps, and pouches to be used in homes. UV light is one of the most recommended and fastest methods to sanitize objects because of its penetrating power to kill bacteria no matter that bacteria is drug resistance or not.
What is UV light?
UV light is divided into three types: UVA, UVB, UBC. They are all different in properties because of their distinct wavelengths and the extent to which they penetrate a surface. UVA is the radiation with the longest wavelength and constitutes 95% of the UV light that reaches our planets surface. UVB lies second in terms of wavelength, and it is primarily responsible for
sunburns and skin diseases. UVC is the most powerful because of having the shortest wavelength as compared to the other two types. It kills bacteria and viruses effectively by attacking and destroying the molecular bond of genetic material, thus killing bacteria along with
its reproduction to prevent replication. It is even effective against those bacteria which have developed resistance against antibiotics. UVC light is useful in sterilizing surgical tools and hospital beds. This is due to the penetrating nature of UVC that cleans every nook and corner of the surface, which otherwise are left ignored.
Killing bacteria through UV light is called Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation. UVC is germicidal, which means it hampers bacterial growth, thus prevent infection. The procedure involves exposing the bacteria to UVC, which then damages the DNA of cells, making it unable to replicate or grow further. It is also useful against ‘superbugs.’ UVC damages nucleic acid inside the DNA, which is vital to perform important functions. The method is super easy because no chemical is used. UVC light is not difficult to use; it comes in many portable forms like wands, covered boxes, and bottles. These devices come with an instruction manual to guide users about how to use it to kill bacteria and germs and for how it takes to sanitize an object. UVC light can kill bacteria from E.coli to Staphylococcus instantly alone. The toothbrushes which contain bacteria that can cause digestion problems and infectious throat, among other illnesses, can be disinfected with UVC light. UVC can kill bacteria present in water, purifying it up to 99.99%. With time, the cost of decontaminating with UV light has been decreased because scientists are discovering new cheap and easy methods to generate UVC.
But this UV light has many health hazards, and it is responsible for causing skin cancer, cataract, and other skin diseases. Scientists are working in processing UV light to make narrow wavelengths effective so that it can kill germs without entering the human body. In 2017, experiments were successful in testing UVC light of 222 nm to kill Staphylococcus at the same
speed and effectively as powerful but harmful 254 nm UVC light.
Despite all the technology and advancement in sciences, washing hands and keeping yourself clean is the foremost and the easiest method to kill bacteria. The main advantage of UV light is that it kills hidden and powerful germs by destroying its genetic material.