What is Ultraviolet Light?
When sunlight passes through a prism, it separates into the colors we see in a rainbow. Each separate color has its own wavelength. Everyone and every living thing enjoy the benefits of sunlight. Without it, the earth would be a cold, lifeless planet. Ultraviolet light, although it is invisible to people, also separates into different wavelengths. There are certain, specific wavelengths that can be used indoors for a number of purposes.
There are four principal wavelengths in the ultraviolet spectrum that lend themselves to specific applications;
- UV-A is responsible for the familiar suntan. It is a normal component of sunlight, that, by virtue of its relatively longer wavelength, can penetrate the atmosphere. Applications have included inspection of fluorescent surfaces, tanning beds, and treatment of skin diseases.
- UV-B is found in the middle wavelength region of the ultraviolet spectrum. Principle uses have been medically for the treatment of skin diseases, and for testing purposes in the aging/degradation cycles of products.
- UV-C is shortwave ultraviolet radiation. Primary uses have been for the destruction of bacteria and other microorganisms in air, liquids, or on surfaces. Shortwave UV Energy or Ozone can be generated by specially designed UV lamps. It is primarily used as an effective sterilant in applications requiring cleanliness with no residual contamination.
UV-C is the wavelength used in germicidal applications. It is well known that ultraviolet germicidal lamps can destroy any microorganism that comes in contact with its powerful UV-C rays. This method is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control for its germicidal effects. Ultraviolet Germicidal Energy is produced by low-level mercury lamps. The lamps are made of special glass which allows the passage of light rays emanating at 253.7 nanometers. This particular energy has the capability to kill all microorganisms it comes in contact with.
The destruction of germs, viruses, and bacteria by germicidal ultraviolet light is accomplished quickly and effectively. The UV-C rays strike the various microorganisms whether they are bacteria, viruses, yeast, mold or algae, and they break through the outer membrane. The radiation reaches the heart of the organisms (commonly known as the DNA) where it causes abrupt modifications. The modified DNA transmits incorrect codes or messages, and this impairment actually brings about the destruction of the microorganisms.
In health care institutions where occupants are constantly exposed to the pathogens that cause infectious diseases, special ultraviolet units are used to kill the microorganisms as rapidly as possible.
On an average day, a family of four will introduce countless numbers of germs into the home. School, work, even a trip to the store provides a means for influenza, streptococcal, and other germs to penetrate into living spaces. Cleansers and detergents are well suited for kitchens, bathrooms, even the clothes we wear, but what about the air we breathe?
Filters trap particulate, and only when germs are attached to particulate, can the germs be trapped. Unfortunately, germs, bacteria, mold spores travel through the home or workplace at an alarming rate due to inadequate air filtration systems. The use of a UVC and filtering combination provides a synergistic disinfection effect. Together, this combination provides a dynamic air interchange opportunity for the air.