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To UV or not to UV?

Yesterday someone told me that the word of the day was “robust.” We’re all hoping for a robust turnaround of the economy. The event industry is hoping to return to a robust schedule. Our commercial clients want robust cleaning. I imagine that the insult of having the greater part of humanity kicked to the curb by a microscopic thing that’s not even living has made all of us want to channel our inner Avenger and set the world ablaze.

One blaze that’s getting a lot of currency right now is UV light. UV, or ultraviolet, light is best well known for being the namesake of a U2 song and the cause of skin cancer (a strange duality), but UV light, which comes in different wavelengths—UVA, UVB, and UVC—is also gaining traction for its disinfectant properties. UVA and UVB are most famous for sending people to the beach covered in titanium dioxide, but UVC can destroy the outer protein of viruses and bacteria, thereby rendering the pathogen inert.

Long used by hospitals for next-level disinfection, the benefit of UVC disinfection is that it is free of chemicals and non-invasive which makes it ideal for disinfecting environments where one might find food, medicines, hair and makeup, electronics. or absorptive surfaces. Although the light can only vaporize viruses and bacteria if they are directly in its path (as opposed to hidden in keyboard crevasses or under blankets), UV disinfection systems work quickly and thoroughly. UVC has been used for decades to reduce the spread of diseases like tuberculosis.

Depending on the scope of your job, there are UV devices for surface disinfection such as wands, cases, lamps, and towers, as well as UV air sanitizers that kill spores, aerosols, Covid, and other airborne germs.

As with anything, before investing in any device, do your research to make sure that the product is what the manufacturer says it is, but also know that UVC can still be damaging if used improperly. Never look at the light directly with your eyes, and always wear skin protection (lab coats work) around large UVC towers—which have timers on them to allow room exit and entry while turned on—to prevent skin rash and mild burns.

PopUP CleanUP offers both cleaning and disinfection services for commercial spaces and events.

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