The CDC Sheds New Light on UVGI
The pandemic has brought tremendous interest in cleaning and disinfection methods in public spaces, with a lot of attention being paid to two disinfection technologies in particular: bi-polar ionization and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, otherwise known as UVGI. Both technologies have been around for decades, and while you see new twists of each in the marketplace, the technology behind them has essentially stayed the same. And while you may hear phrases like “the science has changed” or “evolved” the reality is that as we continue to learn more about the SARS-CoV-2 virus and its continuous mutations, we begin to recognize the value of proven, time-tested eradication technologies.
In one of the CDC’s most recent updates (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/ventilation.html), it states that the “CDC recommends a layered strategy to reduce exposures to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.”
The CDC goes on to point out the value of UVGI as one of the methods recommended by the CDC and ASHRAE:
“Consider using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) as a supplement to help inactivate SARS-CoV-2, especially if options for increasing room ventilation are limited. Upper-room UVGI systems can be used to provide air cleaning within occupied spaces, and in-duct UVGI systems can help enhance air cleaning inside central ventilation systems.”
It is important to study all available data in terms of the devices being used and recommended. Interestingly, bi-polar ionization (or needle point ionization), while gaining a lot of interest, has yet to be recommended by the CDC or ASHRAE. This technology has also been around for decades, but has yet to be recommended by ASHRAE or the CDC as a method for improving air quality or air disinfection in ventilation systems. Additionally, very recent studies have shown that there is some risk associated with these devices.
“The study, authored by researchers at Illinois Tech, Portland State University, and Colorado State University, found that cleaning up one harmful air pollutant can create a suite of others.
Both chamber and field tests found that an ionizing device led to a decrease in some volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including xylenes, but an increase in others, most prominently oxygenated VOCs (e.g., acetone, ethanol) and toluene, substances commonly found in paints, paint strippers, aerosol sprays and pesticides.”
“Health impacts of air ionizers are largely unknown, although a small number of recent studies give cause for concern. In August 2020, a study concluded that exposure to negative ions was associated with increased systemic oxidative stress levels (a marker of cardiovascular health), and despite reduced indoor particulate matter concentrations, there were no beneficial changes to respiratory health.
Another recent study of air ionizers in school classrooms reduced particulate matter concentrations led to some improvements in respiratory health among 11-14 year old children, the ionizers had an adverse effect on heart rate variability (a measure of cardiovascular health), meaning that any benefit to the lungs came at a cost to the heart.”
As we invest trillions of tax and private dollars into our nation’s infrastructure to help battle SARS-CoV-2 today and what other dangerous infections may come our way in the future, it’s incredibly important to invest in tested, proven, and recommended devices. UVGI is the clear, proven technology leader.
One thing is very clear whether in a school, a hospital, an eldercare facility or wherever people gather, washing our hands, manually cleaning spaces, wearing masks, and disinfecting both the air and surfaces in spaces is vital to fight all pathogens. This layered approach to disinfection will continue to be important, not just for SARS-CoV-2, but for influenza, MRSA, C. diff, C. auris, other MDROs, and the many other emerging pathogens of the future.
If we pick the safest, recommended technology, we can keep us all safe, protected and productive.
Chief Strategy Officer
PURO UV Disinfection Lighting