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Important features to look out for when choosing a safe and effective ultraviolet (UV-C) steriliser

Updated: Mar 3, 2022


With more ultraviolet sterilisers and lamps being widely available to consumers and many countries worldwide using ultraviolet (UV-C) light to fight COVID-19, it is very important to know what are the necessary features to look out for when choosing a safe and effective ultraviolet steriliser to use on your premises.


China's central banks cleaning notes with ultraviolet (UV-C) light to combat Covid-19
China's central banks cleaning notes with ultraviolet (UV-C) light to combat Covid-19
Ultraviolet (UV-C) disinfecting mobile robots will be rolled out in over 200 shopping malls around Singapore
Ultraviolet (UV-C) disinfecting mobile robots will be rolled out in over 200 shopping malls around Singapore











Big cities like Shanghai & New York are using ultraviolet (UV-C) light to disinfect buses and subways
Big cities like Shanghai & New York are using ultraviolet (UV-C) light to disinfect buses and subways
Many airlines using ultraviolet (UV-C) light to disinfect their airplanes
Many airlines using ultraviolet (UV-C) light to disinfect their airplanes









 

Feature 1 - Safety sensors to prevent UV radiation and exposure


Many ultraviolet sterilisers and lamps marketed for household use do not have any motion safety sensors to cut off the light when there are people in the area ie. table desk lamps, household UV lamps with no motion sensors, ultraviolet handheld portable wands, ultraviolet disinfection boxes, etc.


Example of handheld ultraviolet steriliser that exposes user to UV rays
Example of handheld ultraviolet steriliser that exposes user to UV rays
Example of ultraviolet lamp that do not have any safety motion sensors
Example of ultraviolet lamp that do not have any safety motion sensors














An article from NEA has mentioned that many household use ultraviolet sterilisers sold on online platforms like Qoo10, Shopee, Alibaba, EzBuy, Lazada etc. do not have the appropriate safety features in place to ensure safety of the user and the surrounding people around the steriliser, causing exposure to UV radiation.




Exposure to UVC radiation due to inappropriate use or unsafe sterilisers can cause serious eye or skin injuries.




The National Environment Agency (NEA) advises households not to use disinfection sterilisers based on UVC radiation technology. Many such sterilisers marketed for home use lack safety features that protect users from unintended or accidental exposure to UV radiation.
 

Feature 2 - Internal surfaces of the steriliser must be reflective for effective sterilisation


For effective sterilisation, the internal surfaces must be made of a reflective surface ie. aluminum, metal or stainless steel material so as to properly reflect all ultraviolet light onto the items being placed inside the steriliser.


If the internal surfaces are non-reflective ie. plastic / cloth like the examples below, it is ineffective in sterilising all the items placed inside the steriliser.


Example of ultraviolet box that has non-reflective internal surface ie. plastic
Example of ultraviolet box that has non-reflective internal surface ie. plastic

Only the items directly below the ultraviolet light will be sterilised and not the items stacked or placed below it
Only the items directly below the ultraviolet light will be sterilised and not the items stacked or placed below it

Example of ultraviolet bag that has non-reflective internal surface ie. cloth
Example of ultraviolet bag that has non-reflective internal surface ie. cloth


Only the items directly below the ultraviolet light will be sterilised and not the items stacked or placed below it, due to its non-reflective surfaces ie. plastic and cloth.












Internal surfaces of the steriliser must be reflective like the examples below for effective sterilisation



Example of ultraviolet steriliser with internal reflective surface
Example of ultraviolet steriliser with internal reflective surface
Example of a ultraviolet steriliser bag that has internal reflective surface
Example of a ultraviolet steriliser bag that has internal reflective surface

















 

Feature 3 - Ultraviolet (UV-C) lamps in the steriliser must be facing downwards


It is important that lamps should be installed on the top of the steriliser, facing downwards and NOT facing directly outwards.


This is to ensure that the user's eyes are protected and are not seeing the ultraviolet rays directly as this will cause eye injuries.


Example of ultraviolet steriliser lamp in full view and directly facing outwards
Example of ultraviolet steriliser lamp in full view and directly facing outwards
Example of ultraviolet steriliser from Japan with lamps in full view and directly facing outwards
Example of ultraviolet steriliser from Japan with lamps in full view and directly facing outwards












Example of ultraviolet steriliser from Taiwan with lamps in full view and directly facing outwards
Example of ultraviolet steriliser from Taiwan with lamps in full view and directly facing outwards
 

Feature 4 - Should not have Ozone emission feature


There are some ultraviolet sterilisers that have ozone emission feature. However, this is dangerous to humans, especially to children, the elderly and people with existing lung diseases, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


When inhaled, ozone can damage the lungs. Relatively low amounts of ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and, throat irritation. It may also worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma as well as compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections.

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