Safeology Blog

Can you turn on a light and turn off a virus?

Several months ago, when people asked me what I did for a living, being a worldwide lighting authority didn’t mean much. They would nod politely. Today, things have changed. Because of the Covid pandemic, their eyes widen, and most have the same questions: Does UVC light kill germs? Will it actually inactivate viruses? Can it keep me safe?


The resounding answer to these questions is yes. And yet, like most things in science, the best answers aren’t always the simplest ones. But I—along with those on the Safeology Scientific Advisory Board—will do my very best in these blog articles to make the complex more understandable.


UVC is known for killing germs.


Ultraviolet (UV) light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum, falling between x-rays and visible light. It’s classified into three primary groups based on wavelength: Ultraviolet A (UVA), Ultraviolet B (UVB), and Ultraviolet C (UVC). UVC light has a wavelength range of 100 – 280 nanometers and is widely accepted as the most effective light to eradicate germs.


UVC is proven effective.


Countless studies and field applications have been conducted that show the effectiveness of UVC light in destroying pathogens. Its effectiveness has been well documented in reports from the highest levels in government, including the CDC, EPA, and OSHA. Just how effective is UVC? While general efficacy is dependent on the dosage (intensity and time of exposure), UVC is widely acknowledged to eliminate up to 99.9% of harmful pathogens. It’s one of the reasons that UVC has been used by hospitals for years.


UVC neutralizes pathogens.


UVC irradiation is a physical process that disrupts and damages the DNA and RNA of harmful organisms such as viruses and bacteria. The destruction of the DNA and RNA leaves the organisms sterile and unable to function or reproduce. Since they can’t reproduce, the organisms can’t spread.


UVC offers multiple benefits.


In addition to its effectiveness, there are two other significant benefits to UVC disinfection technology worth considering: it’s easy to operate and inexpensive to use. For instance, UVC towers and fixtures can be programmed remotely and monitored by motion sensors to ensure safe cleansing when a room is unoccupied. Once moved into a room or installed, they do not require someone to be in the room to oversee and implement the cleansing procedure. This kind of simplicity and automation can help create a greater degree of protection while reducing staffing costs. For proven disinfection that’s simple and safe to operate, and can save money in the long run, UVC light disinfection technology is definitely worth considering.


About the Author

By Rolf Bergman, Ph.D.
Dr. Bergman holds both B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Dr. Bergman was Chief Scientist of Lighting Technology at GE and has consulted with the U.S. Department of Energy and at lighting laboratories across the world.

About Safeology

Safeology is dedicated to leveraging the science of light to create clean, pathogen-free spaces. We’ve brought the industry’s most knowledgeable experts together to create UVC disinfectant products that are based on the latest scientific research, are rigorously tested, and built on decades of experience in commercial lighting and technology solutions. By partnering with Safeology, you can create pathogen-free spaces in which your employees and customers feel safe, comfortable, and reassured.