What Makes UVC LEDs A Better Choice Compared To UVC Bulbs With Mercury?
UVC LEDs are recommended for disinfecting surfaces and medical equipment because they are the safest option available. On the flipside, UVC light bulbs that contain mercury can be hazardous and should not be used for disinfecting. The fact that they have mercury in them makes them an environmental hazard. Besides, they can be dangerous for human health too.
Let’s discover in detail why UVC LEDs are a safer and more effective option to kill viruses and other microorganisms compared to UVC bulbs with mercury.
Four Simple Reasons Why UVC LEDs Are Your Best Bet
UVC light sterilizers have long been used to disinfect as this specific wavelength (265nm ~ 280nm) of the ultraviolet spectrum can effectively kill virus, mold, fungus, and bacteria. Today, when the whole world is fighting the coronavirus pandemic, the use of UVC Light can be a great way to disinfect any surfaces, medical equipment, and phones.
Using UVC light for disinfection is nothing new. According to the International Ultraviolet Association, the technology has been in use for this purpose for more than 40 years and has successfully contributed to cleaner air, water, and surfaces. When it comes to the UVC light, there are two options available. These are the UVC bulb light and the UVC LED light. In short, the use of UVC LEDs is recommended because UVC bulbs contain mercury and can be hazardous for the environment and human health.
- UVC LEDs Are A Smarter Choice For Sterilization and Disinfection
UVC LEDs make a smarter choice for sterilization and disinfection when compared to UVC bulbs with mercury. They are the more technologically advanced option available today that aren’t just smaller in size but are more robust and long-lived as well. Compared to mercury bulbs, UVC LEDs are energy efficient, toxin-free, and can be switched on/off anytime giving full light output instantly. All these features certainly make battery-powered, portable UVC LEDs a better and smarter choice for sterilization and disinfection.
- UVC LEDs Are Safe For The Environment and Health
What makes UVC LEDs a safer option for the environment and human health is that they don’t carry any toxic compounds. UVC bulbs, on the other hand, have mercury which is known to be a persistent, bio-accumulative toxin that poses a serious risk to wildlife, ecological balance, and human health.
When the UVC lamps with mercury are disposed into the landfills, or when they are disposed of using the incineration method, they release mercury vapors in the environment which can travel as far as 200 miles. They contaminate the atmosphere as they travel this far. It’s extremely toxic for our nervous system and can also be poisonous to the kidneys. When the body absorbs these mercury vapors, mercury gets distributed to all the body tissues through blood and can lead to serious health problems.
- UVC LEDs Do Not Damage Materials They Are Used On
The UVC radiation is capable of breaking down the chemical bonds. As a result, it can cause quick aging of plastics, gaskets, insulation, and other materials. When these materials are exposed to UVC light for a certain time the breakdown of the molecular chain begins. This leads to both chemical and physical changes. This type of damage is known as UV degradation and can affect many synthetic and natural polymers including neoprene, PVC, and rubbers. Excessive exposure to UVC light can cause these materials to lose strength and flexibility, fade in color, crack, and disintegrate. However, UVC LEDs are rendered safe for use on a variety of materials as they can quickly disinfect with limited exposure.
- UVC LEDs Don’t Create Ozone
One of the major advantages of using UVC LEDs for disinfection is that they don’t create ozone. The UVC light from mercury bulbs used to kill the virus is known to create ozone because of the instability of its wavelength. Ozone is known to have damaging effects on human health and, therefore, mercury bulbs should not be used to avoid ozone creation.
Let’s have a look at how ozone can be damaging to different materials and human health.
- It deteriorates plastic and rubber: Even though some types of plastics can be safely used in the ozone environment, others are highly susceptible to degradation when they get ozone exposure. Even traces of ozone can attack the double bonds present in the rubber chains and can cause degradation.
- It is highly corrosive and can damage materials that aren’t corrosion-proof: Yes, ozone is highly corrosive which makes it a serious air pollution hazard. Besides, when a UVC light sterilizer with mercury is used on materials that aren’t corrosion-proof, the ozone created in the process can damage these materials and result in deterioration and leaks.
- It can have serious health implications when used for disinfecting CPAP machines: The products used to disinfect CPAP machines and accessories are designed in a way that the ozone generated is kept inside the machines. However, leaks can happen and the ozone levels in the surrounding can quickly become unsafe, particularly when the area isn’t well-ventilated. Even if the leaks are avoided, the concentrations of ozone gas inside the CPAP machines can remain above the safe levels as well. If they are used without letting fresh air circulate through the system, it may result in nasal, lung, and other irritations in the breathing passage of the user. Exposure to higher ozone levels can increase the possibility of respiratory infection or may worsen any chronic respiratory conditions like asthma.
UVC LEDs are clearly a better choice for disinfection purposes when compared to UVC light bulbs with mercury. The UVC LEDs produce a steady wavelength and don’t create any byproduct like ozone. When used as a sterilizer, LEDs can effectively inactivate microorganisms and biomolecules. So, the next time you hit the market to buy a UVC light device for coronavirus or general disinfection, make sure you buy UVC LED devices to avoid all the possible risks of UVC light bulbs.