UV light is the electromagnetic radiation that reaches the earth through sunlight. It has three types: UVA, UVB, and UVC. The strength and power to kill bacteria and viruses increases with the decrease in wavelength. UVC, being of the shortest wavelength, is the most efficient and
energetic of all the types. UV disinfection is used everywhere to decontaminate the surfaces and human skin at homes, hospitals, offices, and educational institutes. Scientists have proved by experiments and facts that UVC light can inactivate bacteria, viruses, and other microbes by
destroying their DNA.
People reluctance in using UV:
People are still confused about the safety of UV light and are reluctant to use it. UV ranges from 10 nm to 400 nm, and the harmful effects vary with exposure time and wavelength. UVA, which constitutes 95% of the UV radiation, causes wrinkles, aging, while UVB with a shorter wavelength is responsible for skin cancer, sunburns, etc. UVC, due to the shortest wavelength, is absorbed by the ozone layer, therefore, does not reach the earth. It is produced artificially because of its disinfection properties. If UVC is used with great care with consideration of exposure time to avoid direct contact with human skin, it is harmful only for bacteria and viruses. Scientists have discovered and prepared UVC light named Far-UV with a wavelength of 222 nm but more potent and quicker than ordinary UVC light. Far-UV light does not harm human skin and is not penetrative except for the microbes. Owing to its limited safe range of wavelengths, it breaks the chemical bonds of the DNA of germs without affecting human tissue. Even its low dose can inactivate droplets responsible for causing influenza. It is safe for the human; that’s why it is recommended by scientists and being utilized on a large scale. Now with the rise of Covid-19, UV is the future of disinfection for safety and precaution. It claims to destroy and inactivate the reproduction system and growth of the virus if any present on the surface, but the treatment of corona patients is still not proved and practiced
UV light is being used in food processing and packaging to provide safety against foodborne diseases. UV light has proved to be effective against pathogens to maintain the freshness and taste of food and drinks. UVC light with a range of 200-280 nm is safe for UV food and water treatment. The history of using UV light in the food industry is 50 years old. Foodborne
pathogens like E.coli, Listeria, Salmonella become dormant and lifeless when exposed to UV. The efficiency of UV depends upon contact timing and which kind of technology is being used. Initially, UV light was effective in sterilizing clear liquids only, but with time and scientific
advancement, now the decontamination of denser food and all kinds of liquids is possible. UVC also helps control the growth of mold and mildew in big freezers of hotels to store a large amount of meat and vegetables. UVC lamps are also used to sterilize water both for home and
municipal water treatment.
Disinfection of mobile phones and other items:
Mobile phones have been tested to carry more germs than toilet seats. It is the most personal object which we carry every time from shopping malls to bathrooms. In the same way, children’s toys and feeders are also prone to be a safe haven for pathogens upsetting the stomach of infants. But with the different convenient and unique forms of the UV devices, all such items of daily use can be disinfected in seconds. Thus UV is the need of the hour and scientists due to the increasing demand are coming with a safer and manageable form of UV