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Why UV Light is the ONLY Solution – UV is the Future!

Bacteria and Germs, News & Updates

UV light is already the go-to solution for disinfecting community water supplies. Many hospitals and health care institutions currently use UV light to kill potentially dangerous bacteria, such as MRSA. Now many more industries are taking advantage of the safe and effective use of ultraviolet light to kill harmful bacteria.

The bacteria in food and on surfaces can cause infections and diseases. Throughout history, people have used chemicals and high heat to kill bacteria in hopes of making food, water and objects safe.

The use of chemicals and heat can be ineffective or even dangerous, though, because the chemicals and high heat used in disinfection can themselves be harmful. Users must also leave chemicals and heat on long enough to kill the bacteria, which can be costly and inconvenient. The use of chemicals in hospitals can be especially risky, as it puts patients and workers at risk for exposure to toxins. Hand washing helps, but getting employees to wash their hands correctly can be challenging.

Perhaps the best benefit of all is that UV light inactivates bacteria without the use of antibiotics, so it works even on antibiotic-resistant microbes. A number of bacteria that cause serious infections are becoming resistant to antibiotics, which leaves millions of people vulnerable to even minor infections. Hospital-acquired infections can be particularly resistant to antibiotic treatments.

Decades of use shows that ultraviolet (UV) light effectively kills bacteria. Now more industries are using UV light for safe, effective disinfection.

Microscopic HAI

About Bacteria and UV Light

Bacteria are single-cell organisms that reproduce through cell division, which is to say that bacteria cells reproduce by dividing in half. Like all living organisms, bacteria store instructions for reproduction and other life functions in their DNA and RNA. Destroying the DNA and RNA, then, prevents bacteria from reproducing or carrying out other life functions.

UV light works by interfering with cell division so that the bacteria cells cannot reproduce. Specifically, the microorganism absorbs the light into its DNA and RNA. The UV light alters the DNA and RNA in ways that either destroys the bacteria immediately or prevents it from reproducing. Either way, UV light eventually kills the bacteria and sterilizes whatever surfaces or substances it encounters as it travels through space.

UV light effectively inactivates a wide spectrum of harmful bacteria and viruses, including those that cause hospital-acquired infections, such as Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli and Clostridium difficile.

About UV Light

Ultraviolet (UV) light is a type of light that is invisible to the human eye. UV light travels from the sun’s beams each day. Humans can now harness the power of UV light for use in medicine and other applications.

Advanced UV disinfection systems safely and effectively eradicate bacteria and other pathogens from a broad range of industrial applications without extreme temperatures or hazardous chemicals, which minimizes the risk of scalding and chemical exposure. Furthermore, UV is safe for use in all types of pipe and is especially well suited for older systems, where it can be difficult to bring temperatures up high enough for thermal disinfection.

UV Light inside one of Vioguard’s light trays

History of Harnessing UV Light

Scientists have known about the bacteria-killing properties of sunlight since 1877, when two English scientists noticed that sugar water placed in a shady window turned cloudy while sugar water in sunlight remained clear. The scientists looked at the water through microscopes and found that bacteria were growing in the shady water but not in the sunlit water. Another scientist determined that the ultraviolet portion of the light spectrum had the most bacteria-killing power.

A pair of German scientists created the first arc tube capable of producing UV light in 1906. French scientists created the first full-scale UV disinfection apparatus in 1910.

UV disinfection has come a long way in the decades since its discovery in 1901. Once reserved for only the most sophisticated hospital and research facilities, UV technology is used in nearly every country around the world. Most professionals consider UV disinfection to be the best available technology for treating waterborne microbiological contamination.

Community leaders in Europe originally used UV light as an alternative to chlorination to disinfect municipal drinking water supplies. Now UV light is the solution of choice for disinfecting drinking water, wastewater, industrial wastewater, and process water created by processes of production companies, heat and power plants, and institutions.

The use of UV light is particularly effective in the beverage, bottled water and food processing sectors, which have extremely high standards of hygiene because of the extremely high consequences of pathogens and spoilage.

Hospitals also rely on UV light to keep patients and workers safer from infectious diseases. These hospitals use machines that emit UV light into the empty room for about 30 minutes. The light bounces off surfaces and reflects into hard-to-reach areas, such as the spaces between cabinets, hard-to-wipe fixtures, and even often-overlooked open drawers.

Because it is highly efficient and non-chemical method of disinfection, UV light is rapidly gaining acceptance in the food and beverage industry. UV light kills all known pathogenic and food spoilage microorganisms, including bacteria, yeasts, viruses, and even molds and their spores. UV light disinfection is a low maintenance, environmentally friendly technology that ensures very high levels of disinfection and eliminates the need for chemical treatment.

UV disinfection is ideal for a number of industries and industrial applications, including:

  • Hospitals and other health care facilities
  • Building services
  • Cooling and heating
  • Drinking water/water supplies
  • Horticulture
  • Pharmaceuticals

Manufacturers use UV light to treat drinking water and wastewater, to disinfect air, and to make fruit and vegetable juices safer to drink. Many home devices now use UV light to clean everything from computers to toothbrushes. Hospitals increasingly rely on UV disinfection to keep patients and workers safe from ever-resistant viruses and bacteria. UV light is quickly becoming the ONLY solution for disinfection.

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