Is UV-C Light Sanitation New?
- No, UV-C has been part of the food manufacturing industry for more than 50 years. In the food industry, they refer to is as Ultraviolet Radiation (UV) or Irradiation, however it is just Light Sanitation.
What are the 3 types of UV (Ultraviolet) Radiation?
- UV-A Radiation – longest wavelength of 320 to 400 nanometers (nm)
- UV-B Radiation – wavelengths in the range of 280 to 320 nanometers (nm)
- UV-C Radiation – shortest wavelengths measuring between 100 to 280 nanometers (nm)
- Electromagnetic radiation is all around us, though we can only see some of it and all EM radiation (also called EM energy) is made up of minute packets of energy or ‘particles,’ called photons, which travel in a wave-like pattern and move at the speed of light. All radiation is a form of energy, most of which is invisible to the human eye. UV radiation is only one form of radiation and it is measured on a scientific scale called the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum. UV radiation is only one type of EM energy you may be familiar with. Radio waves that transmit sound from a radio station’s tower to your stereo, or between cell phones; microwaves, like those that heat your food in a microwave oven; visible light that is emitted from the lights in your home; and X-rays like those used in hospital X-ray machines to capture images of the bones inside your body, are all forms of EM energy.
What is UV-A Radiation?
- UV-A radiation makes up 95% of the all the UV rays that make it to the Earth’s surface. UV-A penetrates deep into our skin and can even pass through glass. UV-A damages your skin, resulting in a tan. It is the primary radiation used in tanning beds. It causes almost all forms of skin aging, including wrinkles.
What is UV-B Radiation?
- UV-B radiation makes up only 5% of the UV rays from the sun, but it is very high energy. UV-B damages skin cells and causes DNA mutations that can eventually lead to melanoma and other types of skin cancer. UVB radiation from the sun also can cause cataracts. Cataracts happen when proteins in your eye lens get damaged. The proteins start to collect pigments that cloud your vision. Exposure to UV-B radiation helps the skin produce a type of vitamin D, (vitamin D3), which plays an important role – along with calcium – in bone and muscle health.
What is UV-C Radiation?
- UV-C radiation from the sun is not able to reach the earth’s surface because it is blocked by the ozone layer in the atmosphere. Thus, the only way that humans can be exposed to UV-C radiation is from an artificial source like a lamp or laser. UV-C radiation is the highest energy portion of the UV radiation spectrum. UVC radiation can cause severe burns of the skin and eye injuries (photokeratitis). Avoid direct skin exposure to UV-C radiation and never look directly into a UV-C light source, even briefly. Skin burns and eye injuries from UV-C exposure usually resolve within a week with no known long-term damage. Since the penetration depth of UV-C radiation is very low, the risk of skin cancer, cataracts or permanent vision loss is also thought to be very low. The type of eye injury associated with exposure to UV-C causes severe pain and a feeling of having sand in the eyes. UV-C light in the range of 254 nanometer specifically, is proven to quickly eliminate harmful germs including many bacteria and viruses. UV-C lamps can be found in many germicidal applications such as surface sterilization, air purification and water disinfection processes. UV-C light is widely used in the food and beverage processing and packing industry to eliminate harmful microorganisms in a variety of applications.