Direct ultraviolet disinfection in human-occupied space has never been allowed due to the fact that traditional germicidal light utilizing 254nm wavelength UV can severely harm human skin and the eye. However, the groundbreaking research done by Professor David J. Brenner at Columbia University’s Center for Radiological Research proves that 222nm wavelength far-UVC can‘t penetrate the outer dead skin layer and tear layer therefore is safe for humans.
In 2021, UL, the global safety science leader, officially allows 222nm wavelength ultraviolet (far-UVC) to be used in human-occupied space, provided photobiological safety requirements are met. The newly updated UL8802 is paving the way for the wide use of far-UVC in a safe and effective way, giving the world an effective weapon against COVID-19.
At the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the Chinese Sports Delegation used far-UVC in its home base, hotel room, and training facility to provide an extra layer of bio-safety. It was reported that none of the 1,000 China delegation members contracted COVID-19. This is the first time far-UVC technology has been used at a large public event. The result is quite encouraging.
The US not only leads in far-UVC research, safety standard and is also making a strong effort to be the industry leader. Acuity Brands, a leading US lighting company, is integrating far-UVC into lighting products to provide safe and healthy lighting. Acuity Brands is also the first company to successfully list far-UVC products with UL. Boeing developed its version of the handheld far-UVC device to safely disinfect commercial jet cockpit during the pandemic. An added benefit of far-UVC is it does not penetrate very deep therefore causing far less aging and deteriorating to the sensitive equipment in the cockpit as compared to traditional 254nm UVC.
Real-time direct disinfection in occupied space with far-UVC is extremely effective. In the not too distant future, far-UVC will populate the space we work, play and live, protecting people from getting sick and preventing future pandemics from happening.