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UV-C Safety Facts and Information

UV has been used for disinfection since the mid-20th century, with beginnings even earlier when sunlight was investigated for bactericidal effects in the mid-19th century. It’s used for drinking and wastewater treatment, air disinfection, the treatment of fruit and vegetable juices, as well as a myriad of home devices for disinfecting everything from toothbrushes to tablet computers. Within research facilities, UV has been an option when purchasing biological safety cabinets for years and can also be used within ductwork.

UV technology has advanced in recent years to become more reliable. Ballasts being used today are able to maintain the power output of UV bulbs for far longer than in the past. UV bulbs today have rated lifespans in the thousands-of-hours. This has allowed UV systems to become more viable for wide ranging use.

The use of UV has recently grown within the healthcare industry to provide disinfection of room surfaces in addition to existing cleaning methods. The use of ultraviolet light for surface disinfection within research facilities has started to increase as well due to its ease of use, short dosage times and broad efficacy.

How Does UV Work?

Ultraviolet light exists within the spectrum of light between 10 and 400 nm. The germicidal range of UV is within the 100-280nm wavelengths, known as UV-C, with the peak wavelength for germicidal activity being 265 nm. This range of UV light is absorbed by the DNA and RNA of microorganisms, which causes changes in the DNA and RNA structure, rendering the microorganisms incapable of replicating. A cell that can’t reproduce is considered dead; since it is unable to multiply to infectious numbers within a host. This is why UV disinfection is sometimes called ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI).
UV systems use low-pressure, mercury-arc germicidal lamps which are designed to produce the highest amounts of UV radiation – where 90% of energy is typically generated at 254nm. This radiation is very close to the peak of the germicidal effectiveness curve of 265nm, the most lethal wavelength to microorganisms.

What is UV Effective Against?

UV has been proven effective against a broad spectrum of microorganisms. Viruses contain RNA or DNA and are thus susceptible to irradiation. Bacteria and fungi both contain DNA and are similarly vulnerable to UV light. Spores are also susceptible to UV. With the longstanding use of UV for disinfection, there is a plethora of information regarding dosages necessary to inactivate different microorganisms. Bacteria are generally easier to inactivate than viruses, with fungi and spores being even harder to inactivate with UV.

Safety

As UV-C provides radiation, it is not safe to be in the room while UV-C disinfection is taking place. UV-C is classified as “reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen” by the National Toxicology Program. It presents a hazard to skin and eyes, so direct exposure to UV-C is always to be avoided. UV-C is blocked by a number of materials, including glass (but not quartz glass) and most clear plastics, so it is possible to safely observe a UV-C system if you are looking through a window. UV-C provides residue free disinfection, so there is no concern over dangerous residues that need to be wiped down or neutralized after the disinfection occurs.
The process is environmentally friendly in that there are no dangerous or toxic chemicals that require specialized storage or handling. Since no chemicals are added to the air/water, there are no process byproducts to be concerned with. The UV bulbs do not require special handling or disposal either, making the system a green alternative to chemical disinfectants.
Below are some general guidelines for safe operation of UV sanitation lights:
  • Never look directly at the light when it is activated
  • Use protective eye and face gear
  • Cover the hands, arms, neck, legs and other exposed body parts
  • Setup signs, markers or cones around the area to warn others of ongoing sanitation
  • Do not handle a broken or cracked UV lamp with bare hands
Additionally, we recommend using respiratory masks when performing UV sanitation in potentially contaminated areas. These vital safety accessories have two benefits: prevents individuals from breathing in deadly viruses/toxic chemicals and reduces direct contact when touching the face/mouth.

Light Maintenance and Care

Periodically check the UV lamp before and after use for damage (especially when experiencing light flicker). If the lamp becomes too hot to touch, allow it to cool down before inspection. Do not handle broken or cracked UV bulbs with bare hands.

Benefits

While there are definite limitations to UV-C disinfection technologies, there are many benefits as well. Disinfection times are fast, with a typical disinfection cycle lasting about 15 minutes. This allows for extremely fast turnover times for rooms or other spaces being disinfected. Due to its simplicity, UV-C disinfection is extremely easy to understand. All surfaces within a certain distance will observe an assured level of disinfection in a certain amount of time as long as the light is not blocked from shining on that surface. It becomes very easy to plan the use of a UV-C disinfection system when the parameters and limitations are easily established and understood. There is no need to establish air flow patterns with UV-C as you would with a fogging system. Nor is there a need to isolate rooms from HVAC systems or seal doors. This, along with the lack of chemical mixture, makes the preparation time quick to setup and start a UV-C disinfection cycle.
The cost to run UV systems is very low, as systems are powered by regular wall outlets and batteries. With that, a typical UV-C treatment costs under two cents. UV systems also require little maintenance and upkeep due to their simplistic nature. UV bulbs last thousands of hours at their peak output, limiting the need for routine consumable change out and maintenance.

Drawbacks

While UV is effective at inactivating a wide range of microorganisms, there are limitations for its use. As it involves light waves, UV operates in a “line-of-sight” fashion, only irradiating surfaces within its sightlines. Surfaces can be blocked from the light if objects are in the way, much like a beach umbrella offering protection from the sun. These areas that become blocked from the UV light are commonly referred to as shadow areas. Surfaces in these shadow areas do not receive adequate disinfection as UV light does not have the ability to reflect well off surfaces. Shadow areas are typically dealt with by moving the UV light source to a second position to accommodate disinfection of the surfaces blocked from UV disinfection the first time.
Distance also plays a factor into the efficacy of UV light. The strength of the UV-C light decreases the further away it gets from the light source, following the inverse square law. This means that at twice the distance, the UV-C will have 1⁄4 of its power that was present at the original reference point. This relationship limits how far a single source of UV light is effective before it is too weak to provide adequate disinfection. Most systems deal with this by quantifying their UV-C output at a given distance and using that distance to generate treatment times. Sensors are available which can measure the UV-C output of the UV systems at any location, such that adequate treatment times can be interpreted for that specific location.
UV light does not penetrate well into organic materials, so for best results UV-C should be used after a standard cleaning of the room to remove any organic materials from surfaces.

Applications

UV light can safely be used for a variety of disinfection applications. Systems are available to disinfect rooms and high touch areas, ambulances and other emergency service vehicles, ductwork, tools equipment inside a disinfection chamber, continuous UV-C pass-through conveyors, and many other applications. It has long been available for biological safety cabinet disinfection and home water treatment as well. It provides a chemical free method of disinfecting soundproofing materials that are traditionally chemically incompatible

SHIPPING, RETURNS, AND FAQ

Customer Service – Hours of operation: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST. Phone: 855-ZOOLPPE (855-966-5773)

Shipping Information

Overview ZoolingPPE.com strives to provide a superior customer service experience while providing affordable, commercial grade products. Shipping costs are calculated at the time of purchase and determined by product weight and quantity. Heavy and bulky items require special attention and must be shipped separately. For these items, a standard rate will be charged. Tracking information is provided via email following shipment of your order.

Express & Overnight Express and overnight delivery orders placed after 10am EST will ship the following business day. Express and Overnight orders deliver Monday through Friday; Saturday and Sunday are not considered Service Days for Express and Overnight deliveries. For questions regarding an express or overnight order, please call 855-ZOOLPPE (855-966-5773) during standard business hours (8am to 6pm EST Monday-Friday). Modifications to an express or overnight order must occur within one-hour of order placement.

Lost Shipments If a package is not received by the scanned delivery date, please contact a representative at ZoolingPPE immediately so that we can file a claim with the shipping carrier.

Cancellation A request to modify or cancel an order can be made through your Account Manager or our Customer Service department. As part of our efforts to provide superior customer service, orders are typically processed shortly after being placed. Please note once an order has reached a certain level in the fulfillment process, it may be too late to modify or cancel.

P.O. Boxes Orders shipped via FedEx require a physical street address for accurate delivery. FedEx is unable to deliver to a PO Box located with the local Post Office. FedEx may deliver to a box address located within a storefront mailing service company. Orders shipped to a PO Box ineligible for delivery by FedEx may incur additional shipping charges for which the customer may be assessed responsibility.

Alaska & Hawaii or APO, FPO & DPO Shipping For questions regarding shipping outside of the continental United States, please call your Account Manager or our Customer Service department. Please be aware all sales are final for orders shipping outside of the continental United States.

Shipment on Customer-Provided Shipping Accounts Customers may provide their own FedEx or UPS shipping account when placing orders through a Sales Account Manager. Orders shipped on a customer-provided shipping account are subject to a $6 handling fee per order.

Disclaimer There may be shipping delays due to unforeseen and uncontrollable circumstances. ZoolingPPE.com cannot be held responsible for conditions beyond our control such as severe weather or carrier service interruptions. Requests for replacement product or credit to your account for merchandise claimed shipped but not received are subject to our investigation. The customer is responsible for all costs related to incorrectly addressed orders.

For questions outside of our normal business hours, please use our contact form. Customer Service will contact you within 24-hours.

ZoolingPPE.com Customer Satisfaction Policy
30-Day Return Policy

ZoolingPPE.com strives to provide our customers with an excellent shopping experience. Our products are of high quality, and we want our customers to be satisfied with their purchase. If you are not satisfied with your product, you may request to return the merchandise for a refund within 30 days of the invoice date.

A request for return may be submitted online via the Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) link or by contacting your Account Manager or the Customer Service Department at 855-ZOOLPPE (855-966-5773).

All returns must be pre-approved by ZoolingPPE.com and accompanied by a copy of the RMA form which will be provided upon approval. All returns must be in the original packaging in as-new condition with the return shipping prepaid by the customer. ZoolingPPE.com reserves the right to impose a restocking fee on all returns including, but not limited to, unauthorized and/or unusual returns. Shipping costs are not refundable. Special Order items including fixtures are not eligible for return.
ZoolingPPE.com enjoys an unsurpassed reputation in the industry of lighting, lighting supplies and lighting services.

Manufacturer’s Warranties Many products offered by ZoolingPPE.com provide a manufacturer’s warranty! This information is listed on our website within the Specifications section of each product if there is a manufacturer’s warranty. After 30 days, the customer is responsible for the shipping cost of warranty replacement(s). Please note a manufacturer’s statement of Average Rated Life Hours does not imply a warranty.

ZoolingPPE.com Supplemental Warranty ZoolingPPE.com provides a 30-day supplemental warranty for those products not accompanied by a stated factory warranty unless categorized as Special Handling, Special Order, or Non-Stock. The supplemental warranty allows for replacement of the original purchase up to 30 days from the invoice date, subject to a possible restocking fee, and ZoolingPPE.com will pay for the shipping costs of the replacement.

Special Handling Non-Warranted Products Certain product categories carry no manufacturer’s warranty and are excluded from the ZoolingPPE.com Supplemental Warranty. These products are generally excluded because they must be adapted, modified, or otherwise manipulated in order to be used as intended. Other products have an extremely short life rating due to design such as stage and studio lamps. Please review carefully the following prior to purchase:


Special Order, Discontinued & Non-Stock Items Special orders, discontinued, and non-stock items are sold as final sale and are not eligible for return. Please allow an Account Manager to assist you in this kind of purchase in order to assure yourself that you are receiving the correct product for your application. Such purchases can incur substantial restocking fees from the vendor or factory.

About Damages We ship glass to all points. Our packing procedures are one of the hallmarks of our business. ZoolingPPE.com takes great pride in our very low incidence of breakage while in transit. In order for a damage claim to be successful, ZoolingPPE.com must be notified of the damage within one week from date of receipt. A photo may be required to file a claim with carrier. As the shipper, ZoolingPPE.com will file the claim on the customer’s behalf and arrange for a refund or replacement upon assessment of the amount of actual damage. The package must be received and inspected by the customer and not refused under any circumstances.

If replacement is required on product that can only be shipped in case quantities (such as many fluorescent tubes), then a replacement order for a full case must be processed and charged less the amount of the actual damage with no additional shipping charges.
Replacement Limitations.

If the total amount of the product for replacement due to damage or defective is less than $25, a refund will be issued to the customer as opposed to replacement(s). Shipping small, single item packages greatly increases the percentage risks for damage during transit. After 30 days, the customer is responsible for the shipping cost of warranty replacement(s).

Refunds Customer refund credits are typically processed within five to seven business days. Refund credits can be issued only to the card used during the original purchase according to U.S. law. In the event a credit cannot be issued to the original card used for purchase due to lost card, etc., an attempt on our part has to be made at least once and before a company refund check will be sent to the purchaser. The company check process can delay the time taken to receive the refund.

Shipping or Website Errors If the customer receives product due to our shipping error or incorrect website information, replacements will be shipped at no additional charge to the customer, and a prepaid return shipping label will be provided for the original shipment.

Contact Us

Direct Numbers

Customer Service and Technical Support: 855-ZOOLPPE (855-966-5773).

Mailing Address

ZoolingPPE, 1536 Kings Highway N., Cherry Hill, N.J. 08034