Lighting industry body warns against UV-C products for homes and businesses

Written by

Tim Greenhalgh

Posted on

October 26, 2020

Posted in

The Lighting Industry Association has warned of the health hazards with many UV-C disinfecting products on the market.

The LIA advises that many of the devices using the ultraviolet light wavelength being promoted to small businesses and homes basically are not safe if not used correctly.

It states that householders and businesses should not consider using these UV-C devices, which claim to kill viruses, germs and fungi, without getting professional advice on whether they are safe to use.

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the growth of UV-C products on the market, without firmly researched evidence that they can kill the virus. The technology has been used for decades in carefully controlled professional environments like healthcare, but it carries big risks to humans if not deployed expertly.

Power of LED light

In contrast, there are lighting solutions from pioneering companies like Vyv that are no threat to people, animals and plants. The team at Vyv have harnessed and adapted the unique properties of light so that it delivers excellent antimicrobial protection with high-quality, energy-efficient illumination.

The company’s patented LED lighting harnesses the power of light in the visible 400-420nm range that steers clear of the harmful UV-C area of the spectrum. It has been shown to prevent growth and spread of bacteria, fungi, yeast, mould and mildew on indoor surfaces, with independent studies showing at least a 90% bacteria reduction in controlled laboratory settings.

What’s more it can light a space at the same time and can be used in homes and workplaces as well as hospitals and public spaces. And it is ideal for areas where it’s a challenge to provide scheduled cleaning.

Vyv’s antimicrobial advance is certainly a world away from the hazardous lighting that UV-C products unfortunately emit. It has to be said that, if used with care and knowledge, the ultraviolet disinfecting technology delivers effective results – and has been deployed over the past 40 years, along with the warnings about its use.


UV-C threats

So, the LIA has a team led by Dr Gareth John that has been investigating the precise nature of the threats in using UV-C lighting. The association has invested heavily in its laboratory in Telford with equipment to test for electrical and optical safety, wavelength and the exposure required to achieve published kill rates.

The LIA team has been working with the International UV Association and the recently disbanded Public Health England (now the National Institute for Health Protection), to reach a consensus the safety of UV-C devices, as well as their effectiveness.

Public Health England has tested a number of devices and have raised concerns over their safety and effectiveness.

Through membership of LightingEurope, the LIA has joined a Global Lighting Association task force to publish guidance on UV-C, its effectiveness, hazards and information on devices and applications. This guidance is to be adopted as a specification (PAS) by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Safety research

There is more research work being done by the LIA in the IEC, the national committees of the British Standards Institute and LightingEurope. The association is also monitoring work from other international standardisation bodies and trade associations.

LIA recommends these resources:

  • GLA Position Statement on Germicidal UV-C Irradiation. More info here
  • CIE Position Statement on the Use of Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation to Manage the Risk of COVID-19 Transmission · CIE 187:2010 UV-C Photocarcinogenesis Risks from Germicidal Lamps · CIE 155:2003 Ultraviolet Air Disinfection. More info here
  • IEC IEC 62471 – Photobiological safety of lamps and lamp systems. More info here
  • IEC 60335-2-65 – Household and similar electrical appliances – Safety – Part 2-65:Particular requirements for air-cleaning appliances · IEC 60335-2-109 – Household and similar electrical appliances – Safety – Part 2-109: Particular requirements for UV radiation water treatment appliances. More info here.

Vyv research

Independent studies on Vyv’s unique LED light technology have tested it on different bacterial strains, including MRSA and E. coli, finding that the development of resistance to the antibacterial light is not likely to occur, especially on surface environments.

And a research team at Duke University and the University of North Carolina found that continuous use of antimicrobial light technology could be used in multiple healthcare decontamination applications, including Operating Rooms.

Read more about the research and benefits of Vyv:

Lighting the way to a cleaner, greener future

Moving beyond dangerous UV-C with LED antimicrobial light


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