UV-C Safety Best Practices

During the COVID-19 pandemic, UV-C lights received increased global attention as a safe and effective means for disinfection and inactivating microorganisms. However, concerns began to mount with some machines over the harmful effect of direct exposure to UV-C light and the potential for ozone exposure. When used properly, UV-C has the potential to be a safe and effective means of disinfection, however, it is always important to follow general safety protocols and always consult the manufacturer’s safety manual. 

What is Ozone?

Ozone is a powerful agent that can effectively eliminate odors. However, ozone use does not come without risk, including potential damage to contents and people. The reaction that produces UV-C light also creates ozone as a byproduct. Exposure to ozone can have negative effects on living things, including animals, plants, and people. Some of the effects of ozone exposure include respiratory issues. 

1. Monitor Ozone Levels: With this in mind, it is important to understand the amount of ozone byproduct a UV-C device produces and monitor ozone levels in occupied spaces. Our Airbotx 290X machines use UVGI and, therefore, do not produce any ozone, allowing it to be great for use in occupied spaces. The Airbotx 390X is designed to eliminate more powerful odors and produces ozone. 

2. Never Look Directly at a UV-C Light: Some UV-C machines expose surroundings to direct contact with UV-C light. With this type of machine, it is important to never look directly at the light or have direct exposure to the skin. This can cause burns to the skin and eye damage.

The UV-C lights in Airbotx machines are located inside the sealed machine chamber, closing them off from the outdoor air. The built-in fan draws in air for the surrounding environment, bringing it to the UV-C chamber and then pushing the disinfected and scrubbed air out. This provides the benefits of UV-C disinfection without the risk of UV-C exposure to people, plants, and pets. Additionally, our Airbotx machines have an automatic switch that clicks off the UV-C light if the chamber is opened while the machine is in use. 

3. Properly Dispose of Lamps: UV-C lamps contain a small amount of mercury, which is toxic and considered to be hazardous. This is why careful handling of UV-C lamps and proper disposal is imperative. We recommend checking with local regulators to determine the proper recycling center to dispose of the UV-C lamps. If a UV-C lamp breaks, use proper ventilation and a sealed bag to dispose of any glass. 

Final Thoughts

UV-C is a powerful force that, when used correctly and with a properly designed machine, can be a very safe and impactful means for disinfection and odor removal. When using a UV-C device, make sure to follow the above safety protocols and always consult the machine’s safety manual before use.

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