Air quality devices such as air purifiers have gained increasing attention and demand, particularly air purifiers that contain disinfecting capabilities such as the ability to remove airborne pathogens from the air such as viruses, bacteria, and mold spores. When it comes to these specific air purification devices that contain UV lights to kill these airborne microorganisms, how do they work in the air, and are these UV lights safe to use in an occupied indoor environment?
In this article we are going to learn more about how to disinfect the air in a commercial office, the importance of clean air in a workplace, and how air purifiers with UVC light benefit the indoor environment of a workplace.
Importance of Clean Air in the Workplace
When it comes to air pollution, typically we will only think about pollutions effect on outdoor environments, however, indoor environments are just as important and if not more important due to the high exposure levels that can occur in this indoor space. Most Americans will spend nearly 40 hours a week within the inside space of their workplace [office] and this will lead to significant hazards when it comes to indoor air pollution exposure. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), they found that indoor pollution in work facilities/surroundings can be up to two to five times greater than outdoor pollution levels- and even up to a hundred times worse in some situations. Therefore, the level of importance placed on maintaining clean air in the indoor workplace is essential to workers overall health in this environment.
Depending on the industry you are in and the activities that take place within your workplace, there may be a variety of different airborne pollutants present in the indoor air space. Whether it be a manufacturing business, a laboratory, a medical office, or even just a professional workspace for marketing or other business activities, there is bound to be an accumulation of pollutants created and emitted into the air. One feared indoor pollutant, airborne pathogens, have become a major concern in professional office spaces, especially since the global pandemic (COVID-19). No matter what the airborne bacteria or virus is it is unfortunately true that indoor spaces like a workplace are the optimal places for these germs to spread and rapidly. Thus, it has become more and more important to place protective air quality solutions and disinfectant practices into these indoor environments to protect the workplace and the health of those workers contained within these small confined spaces during the day.
Is the Flu an Airborne Virus?
One of the most notorious and feared times of the year is that of flu season, where this virus will rapidly spread and contaminate most environments, such as workplaces where one employee spreads it to other employees they work closely with during the workday. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with the flu can spread it to other up to about 6 feet away, and this can be spread through droplets produced when people cough, sneeze, or talk that have the flu virus. When these droplets of bodily fluids are excreted, they can float throughout the air and eventually could be inhaled into the human lungs which will trigger the virus in the human body.
These infectious aerosols (tiny droplets that stay suspended in the air for a long time) will easily float in the air and can be easily inhaled by those that are sharing the same airspace as a person who is infected by a virus such as the flu. This is why it is important to protect the workplace by enforcing sick workers stay home and having certain protective measures in place like disinfecting surfaces and having portable air filtration devices integrated throughout the workspace.
Does UV Light Kill Germs in the Air?
Scientist have known for decades the power and effectiveness of UV lights, particularly germicidal UV lights, when it comes to killing bacteria and viruses by destroying the molecular bonds that hold their DNA together. Throughout the years germicidal UV lights have been used routinely to decontaminate and disinfect surgical equipment in hospitals and other medical facilities, however, recently these germicidal UV lights have become a popular addition to air purification devices that are used in indoor spaces like homes, offices, and other indoor environments. These lights give air purifiers the ability to not only filter out airborne pathogens like viruses, bacteria, and mold spores, but it will also give it the capability to kill these pathogens within the indoor mechanics of the air purifier.
According to Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC), a study conducted showed that aerosolized H1N1 virus – also known as the common strain of the flu virus- that was released into a test chamber was exposed to very low doses [222nm] of UVC light. The findings of this study stated the following; “The far-UVC light used in the test chambers efficiently inactivated the flu viruses, with about the same efficiency as conventional germicidal UV light”. Ultimately, these air purifiers that utilizes UVC lights within their air purification device, that fall within the safe limits of wavelength production, then these lights will be safe for human exposure and even offer a low-cost solution to eradicating airborne viruses from within an indoor public space like an office workplace.
Are UV Lights Safe
There has been a lot of talk surrounding the safety of using UV lights within an occupied indoor environment such as a home or office. The popularity of UV air purifiers has led to the debate of whether they are safe or not to place in these indoor spaces, due to the production of ozone from many of these air purifiers that use these UV lights within their devices. Ozone is a harmful gas that can be dangerous to humans, animals, and plants if high levels of exposure to this gas occurs in an indoor space. Generally, ozone will be relatively safe in smaller quantities but when ozone (O3) molecules are in higher levels in the air it can present a very volatile environment.
UVC lights or germicidal UV are at a much more specific wavelength than what is termed “UV” broadly, which encompasses the wavelengths of 100-380nm. UVC are low-pressure lamps, more like a fluorescent lamp, with a specific wavelength of 253.7nm (1182.5 THz). To create ozone from UV, the light wavelength would need to be in the range from 160-240nm. Therefore, it is essential to look into the different UV air purifiers and analyze the wavelengths production that they create in the environment to pick a safe air purifier that is outside of the ozone producing range, such as the EnviroKlenz Mobile Air System [which produces a wavelength of 254nm, that falls outside of ozone producing range]. These air purifiers that use UVC lights and that do not produce ozone from these lights will effectively work to provide a safe indoor space in your workplace by incinerating and destroying particles on contact such as viruses, bacteria, and mold spores in the indoor environment.
Benefits of Using Air Purifier with UVC Light in Office
The capabilities and benefits of UVC light used in air purifiers and other air quality devices can include its ability to kill and destroy viruses in the air that come into contact or exposure with these powerful UVC light. Scientists have known for decades that broad-spectrum germicidal UV light, which has wavelengths between 200 and 400 nanometers (nm), is highly effective at killing bacteria and viruses by destroying the molecular bonds that hold their DNA together. In addition, the use of overhead far-UVC light in hospitals, doctors’ offices, schools, airports, airplanes, and other public spaces could provide a powerful check on seasonal influenza epidemics, as well as influenza pandemics.
The EnviroKlenz UV Mobile Air System utilizes a three-stage filtration process with the final process being a UVC light which is shined onto the HEPA collection area for germicidal destruction. This is done in combination with a patented earth mineral technology that is used to destructive adsorb and breaks down VOCs and chemical odors, with a medical-grade HEPA filter that can trap up to. 3 microns at 99.99% efficiency. The HEPA filters ability to collect fine particulate matter within the filter media of this dense filter allows for some of the smallest particles such as microorganisms (bacteria, viruses, and mold spores) to collect on this dense filter media, which ultimately will give the UVC lights that are integrated within this air purifier to directly shine upon these pathogens to accomplish a high efficiency of destruction.
UV Mobile Air System
The EnviroKlenz UV Mobile Air System utilizes hospital-grade technology to provide maximum air cleaning efficiency for your home and office. It combines certified HEPA filtration along with our patented EnviroKlenz Air Cartridge (with the added addition of UVC lights) to remove airborne pollen, dust, odors, mold, gasses, fragrance, VOCs, allergens, bacteria, and more.
✓ Patented Earth Mineral Technology works to attack the VOC and break down on a compound level.
✓ Powder coated metal housing – Made in the USA
✓ No chemicals or masking agents
✓ Will not release any chemicals back into your environment
✓ Safer and faster at removing VOC’s than traditional carbon filters and Peco air purifier