The use of UVC sources to sanitize surfaces and air received renewed interest in 2020 as engineers and scientists sought mitigation approaches to stem COVID-19 transmission.
UVC exposure disrupts DNA structure. At the correct dosage, it can kill bacteria and deactivate viruses rendering them unable to reproduce. Many industries have used for UVC technology for decades to help reduce the spread of diseases such as tuberculosis, which is caused by bacteria spread from person to person through microscopic droplets released into the air.
It appears, however, that UVC radiation is also effective against coronavirus according to an article published by Ohio State University (OSU) on March 10, 2021. OSU Professors Natalie Hull and Richard Robinson said that their research showed that a specific wavelength of UVC radiation killed more than 99.99% of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
While this research is promising, UV overexposure can be detrimental to all living cells which includes people, pets and plants. Addressing these risks in equipment and built environments where UV technology is used is important. While overexposure can occur in seconds, skin and eye damage will manifest hours or days later. Anyone in the presence of (or using) UV equipment should follow recommended health and safety precautions.
To help minimize the risks associated with UV technology, UL issued the first edition of UL 8802, the Outline of Investigation for UV Germicidal Equipment and Systems, on Sept. 1, 2020. Several manufacturers have leveraged UL 8802 to bring innovative germicidal UV solutions to market. Because of UL’s work developing the outline of investigation, companies now have minimum criteria they can use to certify products in this space.
Building upon the success of UL 8802 first edition, UL has recently consolidated several UV equipment certification documents into UL 8802 second edition. Stakeholders now have a single document to follow when developing different types of UV germicidal equipment and systems.
The outline continues to address personal injury risks due to UV overexposure for fixed equipment and systems with uncontained UV sources intended for installation in commercial settings.
UL continues to work with manufacturers and other stakeholders to consider other applications and unanticipated designs making future revisions to UL 8802 likely.
“Our development teams have high confidence in UL’s technical abilities,” said Jeremy Yon, industry relations leader with GE Current. “In many ways, UL is a critical part of our team; we count on them for our success.”
For new entrants to the UV market, UL is ready to help bring safe products into the market. Please visit UL’s UV resource page to access up-to-date information, and connect with UL’s technical experts.