Safety: UV-C Disinfection Systems vs. Citrus-Based Disinfecting Systems

During the pandemic, several technologies were brought on board to help the professional cleaning industry eliminate the pathogen that causes COVID-19 and its variants. Some of these were modern technologies, while others were older technologies, already in use by other industries, but adopted by the cleaning industry specifically to fight the virus.

One such technology is the use of ultraviolet light. Referred to as UV-C disinfection systems, these systems release a violet-blue light that has proven highly effective at eliminating the pathogen that causes COVID and many other types of potentially harmful germs and bacteria.

Set to operate for a specific amount of time in each setting — 10 to 30 minutes — we often find UV-C systems used in confined areas such as individual offices and classrooms or on subways and other transport vehicles.

There is no question that UV-C systems have proven to be an effective and valuable resource during the worst of the pandemic. But are these systems safe?

This is an important question. As effective as they are, UV-C systems can prove very harmful to people, vegetation, and other living things, and in some cases, even building and facility construction materials. *

For instance:

  • Direct exposure to the eyes can cause severe eye trauma, resulting in temporary or permanent vision loss in a matter of minutes.
  • UV-C exposure to skin can create a bump-like reaction that usually requires treatment to alleviate.
  • Some UV-C systems can release ozone, and inhaling ozone can cause serious respiratory problems.
  • UV-C can weaken certain materials, including plastic, wood, and textiles that are often found in floor coverings, furniture, or building materials.
  • Some UV-C lamps contain mercury. Even in insignificant amounts, mercury exposure can be dangerous, and exposure can occur when changing or disposing of the UV-C lamp

When walking into a room or area where a UV-C system is being used, workers must be sure to wear personal protection gear to protect eyes and skin, along with UV-resistant face shields. While most of these systems are on timers set to turn off after a set amount of time (as mentioned earlier), accidents do occur. As a result, workers must exercise great care when using UV-C disinfecting systems.

So, it’s clear there are many health and safety concerns with UV-C systems. Accordingly, cleaning professionals, building managers, and public transportation administrators are now investigating different — but still effective — products and technologies to eliminate the pathogen that causes COVID and other forms of harmful germs, viruses, and bacteria.

Finding its way to the top of the list of alternatives are cleaning solutions, sanitizers, and disinfectants that are citrus based, such as LEXX® brand disinfectant and cleaner concentrate manufactured by ProNatural Brands, LLC.

LEXX is an EPA-registered disinfectant — meaning that it has been evaluated and its effectiveness proven — as well as an EPA’s N-List disinfectant. EPA-registered disinfectants are evaluated a second time to determine if they eliminate the pathogen that causes COVID. If they do, they are placed on the EPA’s N-List.

Further, we should point out a study recently published by the San Francisco Department of the Environment. This is a comprehensive research paper comparing all types of disinfectants — traditional, environmentally friendly, and environmentally preferable.

 Their study included an analysis of several disinfectants based on their efficacy — how effective they are — along with how safe they are for the user. They concluded that citric-acid-based disinfectants are one of the most effective and safest disinfectants available. The report suggested they be used in all city-owned and -operated facilities, even outdoors, in parks and recreation centers. 

As we move beyond the pandemic, it’s time for cleaning professionals, managers, and administrators to consider effective, but safer cleaning options. Citrus-based cleaners should be on everyone’s list.

ProNatural Brands cleaning products keep surfaces clean and our planet untouched. They are safe and effective. To learn more and how we can help you, click here.

 *Risk depends on the UV-C system’s strength, wavelength, and duration of exposure.

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