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UV Lighting for Disinfection

Many people have asked me recently about luminaires which also contain UV source with the aim of disinfecting. I feel a strong responsibility to provide my opinion on this topic as it is very concerning.

These are dangerous and simple marketing ploys, aimed to prey on our fears related to Covid. I am shocked that even the more reputable brands, like Artemide, would sell these.

Lets us start with investigating the effectiveness: "The effectiveness of UVC lamps in inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus is unknown because there is limited published data about the wavelength, dose, and duration of UVC radiation required to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus."

Moreover, assuming that UVC had value at killing SARS-CoV-2, you would need 2 conditions - a) proximity (being very close to the surface you want to treat) and b) very high power. A luminaire at 2-3m height would have almost no impact on disinfecting desks.

UV Disinfection

Now let us look at the dangers and risks of UV light:

  • Direct exposure of skin and eyes to UVC radiation from some UVC lamps may cause painful eye injury and burn-like skin reactions. Never look directly at a UVC lamp source, even briefly.

  • Some UVC lamps generate ozone. Ozone inhalation can be irritating to the airway.

  • UVC can degrade certain materials, such as plastic, polymers, and dyed textile.

Please do not let yourself gets conned by misleading marketing. You would be putting your health at risk (even if they are programmed only to run when nobody is in the room), damaging plastics, and discolouring furniture.

The only type of UV system that I would recommend is one where you have no chance of seeing the UV light source and which disinfects the air -preferably near the vents for higher efficiency. Keep in mind that these will only be effective on airborne germs and virus, and not with anything on surfaces,

If you are concerned about hygiene my suggestions:

-Wash your hands

-Wear a mask

-Install copper door handles, taps and fixtures


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