What is technology based on UV used for?

UV based light is known for its disinfecting effect on air, water and non-porous surfaces. It has been used for disinfection of water and air treatment systems for decades. Nowadays it is also widely used for surface disinfection. This article describes how UV based light is used for water disinfection, air disinfection and surface disinfection

This article describes how UV-C light is used for water disinfection, air disinfection and surface disinfection.

Water disinfection

UV based light has been used since the early 1900s to disinfect water in cities to prevent the spread of pathogenic micro-organisms (such as tuberculosis, measles and now the coronavirus). It is used in water pipes where water has to travel long distances, such as in factories, or for drinking water. In water treated with UV based light, micro-organisms such as Legionella are rendered harmless without the use of chemicals. Today, almost all water utilities use ultraviolet light to purify drinking water. Ultraviolet light breaks down organic waste products and renders organic micro-pollutants harmless. No harmful residues are left behind in the water, so you can drink it without any health concerns!

Air disinfection

UV based light is often used in the ventilation of rooms, for the purpose of removing air pollutants from indoor settings. This is done in places such as schools, airports and cinemas, but also in factories and laboratories. UV air purifiers often feature a fan as well as UV based light. The air is pressed through the unit and ventilated by the chamber with lamps that emit light.

Disinfection of surfaces

UV based technology has also been shown to be effective in the disinfection of non-porous surfaces. Research has proven that, if the right technique is used, UV based light is not harmful to non-porous surfaces, but it does disinfect them well. By refining the UV based technique, we have it possible to disinfect medical interests very quickly. UV based light works by ‘line of sight’, which means that the light must reach a surface to kill the bacteria and other micro-organisms on it. Because the light is effective on its own, no other chemicals are required in the disinfection process. No other substances are added, making this process simple, cheap and very user-friendly, provided it is used in the right way. You can read more about this in ‘Are All UV Products Equally Effective?’

Figure 1: Effect of UV based light on DNA and RNA.