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ALA, NEMA and UL Offer UVC Light Safety Guidance

Aug. 17, 2020
The position paper brings attention to UVC device safety risks by providing a deeper look at the UVC germicidal devices available to consumers and looking at safety risks.

Due to the increased demand for sanitizing and germicidal capabilities in the face of COVID-19. Northbrook, IL-based UL recently announced it has partnered with the American Lighting Association (ALA) and National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) to release a new position paper. The paper, “Ultraviolet-C (UVC) Germicidal Devices: What Consumers Need to Know,” brings attention to UVC device safety risks by providing a deeper look at the UVC germicidal devices available to consumers; the technology’s potential risk to cause severe injury to humans and pets, as well as damage to plants and materials; and what manufacturers, retailers and consumers need to know to understand which devices are safe and under what conditions they can be operated safely.

Ultraviolet (UV) naturally occurs in three types: UVA, UVB and UVC, all of which have certain benefits and pose certain hazards. While UVC is the type that has proven to have the most germicidal benefits, including killing bacteria and inactivating viruses, any uncontained UVC exposure that is strong enough to kill germs is a risk to people, pets, and plants.

"We are all extremely concerned about the impacts and elimination of COVID-19 and what can be done to mitigate the spread of the virus. In this current global situation, the growing interest around sanitation and germicidal properties is putting UVC devices in greater focus than ever before," said Todd Straka, global industry director of UL's Lighting Division, in the press release.

"There has been an alarming rise in the availability of consumer-facing ultraviolet germicidal devices that don't effectively contain UVC light and carry very serious risks, including permanent eye, skin and lung damage. This is a major safety issue that urgently needs to be communicated to consumers and potential users of these devices. By teaming up with ALA and NEMA, who also share these concerns, we are aiming to educate consumers and manufacturers regarding the potential safety risk implications of using UVC light," Straka added.

For more information, read the original press release, or download the full position paper from the UL website.