When the Covid-19 pandemic was realized in March 2020 the brakes were slammed down on the economy, and much like many of our retail clients, our business went from 60 to 0 pretty quickly. In order to confront these challenges, we had to pivot on some of the products and services that we offered to meet the emerging realities of business during the pandemic.
We began by designing and selling sneeze guards, protective barriers, and clear partitions. This has made us feel like we are at least relevant and doing our part to get our customers back in business. But it is not enough. The public is anxious to return to a sense of normalcy but people are wary and fearful of the health issues that return might bring. Therefore our retail customers need to be able to provide them with safe, clean environments to assuage those fears.
I had read about the irradiation process used in hospitals, food processing, and industrial applications to cleanse surfaces and instruments. I began researching the use of ultraviolet (UV) light on pathogens, bacteria, and fungi. There are two types of UV light used for this purpose, UV-C and Far-UVC.
UV light contains several unique properties and characteristics which can be used to disinfect viruses, bacteria, mold, spores, and other harmful microbes. This sanitation method relies on UV-C wavelengths within a range of 200 nanometers (nm) to 280 nm to deactivate the cellular RNA and DNA of microorganisms. According to data from the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA), UV treatment has been around for more than 40 years.
At the beginning of 2020, the spread of coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19 or SARS-CoV-2) caused a surge in the use of UV-C light to sanitize buildings, worksites, equipment, respirator masks, and patient rooms. Published scientific research and studies conducted by medical organizations have proven the effectiveness of using UV-C light to deactivate the latest SARS-COV-2 strain. Reliability and peace of mind are the secondary benefits that come with UV sanitation, as this disinfection method has been around for decades.
Exposure to UV-C light will damage the skin and the eyes. Therefore, it must be used when the room is vacant. The light fixtures can be wired to a dedicated circuit that can be put on a timer to ensure no one will be present. These fixtures also come with motion detectors that shut them down should someone enter the room.
The use of ultraviolet light in the 207-220 nm range, known as far-UVC, is essentially as effective at killing antibiotic-resistant bacteria as conventional germicidal UV lamps (254 nm). However, compared to the latter, far-UVC light does not induce typical UV-associated lesions in human skin and has so far appeared to be safe for skin in exposure tests of hairless mice. Far-UVC technology has been tested and deemed safe by Columbia University scientists but has not yet been approved for use by the FDA. However, the far-UVC fixtures are commercially available and there are retail businesses that have put them to effective use.
David Brenner, professor of radiation biophysics and director of the Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research that helped develop this emerging technology has said, "Far-UVC takes a fundamentally different tactic in the war against COVID-19. Most approaches focus on fighting the virus once it has gotten into the body. Far-UVC is one of the very few approaches that have the potential to prevent the spread of viruses before they enter the body.”
Far-UVC light fixtures are available that can be fit to dropped ceiling grids, or can be used as a portable table-top unit. Its light can eliminate up to 99.9% of bacteria, viruses, and fungi in any sized room.
While not completely replacing the traditional methods of cleaning and sanitizing air and surfaces, integrating UV-C and far-UVC products into a business’ normal cleaning routine will kill any remaining pathogens and greatly enhance the customer perception of a safe, clean environment.
Bill Moore & Associates is now offering consultation services relative to this lighting technology. If you think your business would benefit from this means of eradicating germs, bacteria, and viruses, we would be glad to make a presentation.
Be Safe. Stay Well.