Sanitation of environments with UVC lamps: specificity and advantages

The technologies for sanitizing the environments are among the most useful and sought after for the re-start phase after the pandemic. These are ionization-based technologies, photocatalysis, ozonization, filtering, which become fundamental tools to quota the risk of spreading viruses and bacteria in public buildings, homes, but also hospitals, transport.

Among the most popular sanitization systems we find LED-UVC lamps that are generating more than interesting results in reducing the transmission of viruses, thanks to the inactivating ability of the UVC and the high functionality of LED technology in terms of efficiency, consumption, time.

UVC light in sanitization: a multi-barrier approach

Taking a small step back, remember that UV radiation covers that portion of the electromagnetic spectrum with a wavelength between 100 and 400 nanometers (Nm) and which fall into three main categories: GRAPES (315-400 Nm), UVB (280-315 Nm) and, finally, UVC (100-280 Nm). Each of these frequency bands has been shown to cause different reactions on living organisms, including - in the case of UVC - the destruction of DNA or RNA of microorganisms by photochemical reaction, enough to get there’inactivation of microorganisms themselves.

For more than forty years, UVC light has been widely used in the disinfection of drinking water, waste water, air and surfaces, acting on a large series of pathogens with excellent results. UVC disinfection is often used in combination with other technologies, in a multi-barrier approach. This ensures that in the event that a pathogen survives a method (for example filtering or "simple" cleaning) would later be inactivated by UVC light which would act in a consolidation function of the entire process.

In research "IUVA Fact Sheet on UV Disinfection for COVID-19" (Study on the use of UV rays in Covid-19 disinfection and sanitization) published by the International Ultraviolet Association (IUVA) UVC lamps are reported to have reached a very high level of virus inactivation SARS-CoV-1 and MERS-CoV, factor leading to predict similar results in the treatment of the COVID-19 virus, SARS-CoV-2.

The effectiveness of UVC light in this sense depends on factors such as the exposure time and the possibility of UVC light to physically reach the viruses, for example in the folds and crevices of materials and surfaces. In cases where UVC light could not reach a certain pathogen, such a pathogen would not be inactivated. In these terms, the multi-barrier approach is even more essential.

UVC lamps and mercury vapor lamps

Mercury lamps are widely used in disinfection systems and are presented as an alternative solution to UVC LED lamps. There are, But, many aspects that underline the advantages of this second technology compared to mercury vapor lamps.

First of all, while the UVC LEDs emit wavelengths of maximum effectiveness, mercury lamps have a UV emission of 254 Nm, a little lower than germicidal efficacy peak. At the level of usability, Furthermore, mercury lamps emit light in a diffuse way, factor that - in a context like that of disinfection, where precision is paramount - highlights the LED 's capability point-like lighting.

In the overview on the advantages of a UVC LED lamp compared to a mercury vapor lamp, the founding characteristics of LED technology must also be considered, such as energy saving, the long one time of life, the sudden ignition capability, the portability, but also the possibility to control and modulate the devices remote.


UVC light at wavelengths between 200 nm and 280 nm is much more “intense sunlight, therefore in the "man-machine relationship" one must ensure the correct use of the system as well as its security compliance. To guarantee this and other regulatory aspects, all equipment must bear the CE mark as proof of the positive passing of all the checks required by the CE certification of products.

At the skin level, especially, UVC light can cause mildly significant reactions and burns; while at the ocular level, damage affecting the cornea and retina cannot be excluded.

Other risks associated with the use of UVC light are rooted in the fact that some devices produce ozone during their operation, while some produce heat and others make considerable movements in their cycle of use. Therefore, the safety of UVC lamps must be evaluated as for all other electrical and electronic equipment within the process certificazione CE. Specific hazards are highlighted and addressed as part of the product risk assessment.

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