UV and UV Light sanitizer UV is an acronym for ultraviolet rays: the rays that radiate from the sun. When you go out on a sunny day and feel the sun on your skin, what you feel is the UV rays. UV light technology has been used for years in the medical industry for sterilization purposes. Now, with the recent discovery that the COVID-19 virus is shy of the sun, people are considering UV light sanitizers for disinfecting objects, clothing, and skin.
How Does UV Light Kill Germs?
Scientists and medical professionals have used UV light to kill germs and sanitize equipment for over 100 years. The process is called ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI).
As part of the2020 COVID-19 crisis, ultraviolet sterilization became a front line technique for avoiding viral spread. UV-C robots clean hospitals, and banks use UV light to clean bills. Boeing is even developing a UV-basedself-cleaning bathroomfor its planes.
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation works for essentially the same reason UV light exposure can give you cancer. The wavelength of UV-C light in particular is the right size to be absorbed by the RNA or DNA of a virus or cell. Absorbing light means absorbing energy—it’s why things get warm when they sit in the sun. When the DNA or RNA absorbs this energy from the UV radiation, it comes apart. This is known as a photolytic process. With the DNA or RNA destroyed, the virus or bacteria is rendered inert and is no longer harmful.
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