In recent years, there has been an unprecedented emphasis on indoor air quality. With people spending 90% of their time indoors and mounting concerns over sicknesses spread by airborne pathogens, regulators have been searching for ways to improve indoor air quality in public spaces and buildings. Consequently, countries like England have turned to a tried-and-tested technology to address this concern: Ultraviolet-C (UVC) light.
The Industrial Revolution brought about a significant change in work environments, resulting in more time spent indoors. In 1902, the first air conditioner was introduced primarily to address humidity, while later versions were created to maintain comfortable building temperatures by efficiently redistributing cooled air.
However, there have been concerns over the potential health implications of recycled indoor air as people grow increasingly cautious about breathing the same air as someone sick.
The germicidal properties of UVC technology were first discovered in the early 20th century to treat tuberculosis on the skin. Several decades later, UVC lamps were introduced for disinfection purposes. Since then, ultraviolet germicidal radiation (UVGI) has been widely used for water treatment.
While UVC technology has continued to evolve, it gained increased attention as a means of disinfection during the worries surrounding COVID-19. Scientists found UVGI to be an effective and energy-efficient method for disinfecting air and materials.
Countries such as the United States, Canada, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Australia, and Singapore took notice of the new studies showing UVGI’s effectiveness in inactivating airborne pathogens.
In June of 2022, England introduced new indoor air quality regulations requiring buildings with ventilation systems that recirculate air to use filters or UVGI irradiation. By introducing a filter or other disinfection measures such as UVGI to clean the recirculated air, buildings can effectively reduce the risk of spreading airborne pathogens, ultimately promoting the health and well-being of occupants.
The disinfection properties of UVGI have been recognized for decades, so why is the world just starting to see an influx in the utilization of UVGI technology?
The heightened unease over airborne pathogens such as COVID-19 and Influenza has called greater attention to the importance of indoor air quality, causing scientists to explore new methods of purifying the air. Additionally, UVGI has not always been safe to use in occupied spaces because of the risk of burning human eyes and skin with direct contact. However, studies have found far UVGI light to be effective and safer in occupied spaces because it cannot penetrate human cells.
As the world continues to navigate the challenges posed by airborne pathogens and the quest for healthier indoor environments, UVGI stands as a promising ally. By harnessing the power of UVC light, countries all over the globe can take significant strides in creating environments that help the world breathe safer and breathe easier.
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