What is Germicidal Ultraviolet-C (UVC) Light?

If you’ve been looking into safe and sustainable disinfection methods for your building, you’ve probably heard about germicidal ultraviolet-C light. But what is germicidal ultraviolet-C light, and what can it do to reduce microbial loads that increase the risk of infection or illness spreading?

To answer that question, we’re going to have to start by looking at the electromagnetic spectrum.

A Quick Look at the Electromagnetic Spectrum

UVC spectrum

Most types of light on the electromagnetic spectrum appear naturally on Earth, like visible light or radio waves. This natural exposure to visible and infrared light has forced harmful microorganisms to develop immunity to those light wavelengths. Visible and infrared light have long wavelengths with low frequency, which means that any type of long-wavelength light will have little to no effect on bacteria or viruses.

On the other end of the electromagnetic spectrum is ultraviolet light. With shorter wavelengths that travel with more frequency, UV light can be broken down into several types, with UV-C being the third and strongest type of UV light.

UV-C Light and Microorganisms

Usually, UV-C light stays in space. Our ozone layer protects us from the sun’s UV-C radiation, so UV-C light doesn’t appear naturally on Earth. This means that harmful microorganisms like viruses and bacteria aren’t resistant to that light.

When those microorganisms are exposed to UV-C light, it disrupts the protein structures that help them grow and reproduce. Without those structures, the microorganisms are destroyed or inactivated, and can no longer infect people. Influenza, E. coli, and SARS-CoV-2 are just a few examples of the types of microorganisms that UV-C eliminates.

Even within the umbrella term of ‘UV-C’ light, there are different types. UV-C light covers all light with a wavelength of 100-280 nanometers, and different wavelengths have different effects. For instance, 254nm UV-C is not safe for human exposure because it can penetrate the outer layers of the skin or eyes and cause irritation. Conversely, 222nm is safe for human exposure because the 222nm wavelength cannot penetrate the outer layers of the skin or eyes. Both types of UV-C light are effective in penetrating microorganisms’ structures and disrupting them.

Simply put, germicidal UV-C light kills germs and makes them incapable of infecting new people.

Lighting the Way to Lowering Infection

UV-C Reduces Healthcare-Associated Infections by 30%

When patients spend time in a hospital, there’s always a risk of picking up an infection from the surrounding environment. Patient health and safety is the top priority for modern healthcare, especially when healthcare-associated infections are preventable. Hospitals have been using UV disinfection for decades now to maintain a high standard of microorganism elimination. 

A CDC-funded study on C. difficile, a major cause of hospital-related infection in the United States each year, found that UV-C towers reduced the incidence of infection by 30%.

R-Zero Uses UV-C Disinfection

R-Zero’s disinfection solutions use UV-C light to inactivate 99.9% of the harmful microorganisms in the air and on surfaces. UV-C room disinfection can work anywhere: including schools, workplaces, and senior care facilities.

Indoor air quality matters, especially in crowded or high-traffic spaces. UV-C light doesn’t leave a residue or smell like other cleaning methods might, and it can operate automatically, allowing life to continue as normal in your building.

Get Germicidal UV-C Light Protection for Your Space

R-Zero’s suite of UV-C products provides safe and effective UV-C disinfection that can make any building safe.

Are you ready to learn more about how to reduce infection in your space? Contact us today to find out what your organization needs.

Curious about how each of R-Zero’s products uses UV-C light? Check out our report on how R-Zero technology uses different wavelengths of UV-C light to disinfect the air and surfaces in any space.

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