What is Ultraviolet light?

What is Ultraviolet light?

Electromagnetic radiation is made up of minute packets of energy or particles, called photons, which travel in a wave-like pattern at the speed of light. The EM spectrum is divided into categories.

Ultraviolet (UV) light is a form of electromagnetic energy (EM) produced by the sun. You can also produce ultraviolet light artificially with special light bulbs.


Rays of the Sun


What is UV-C Light?

UVC Spectrum

There are four ultraviolet wavelength categories: VUV, UVA, UVB and UVC. (Source FDA) 

  • UVA rays have a longer wavelength and can penetrate the middle layer of your skin.
  • UVB short wavelength is used in tanning beds and does not penetrate the skin.
  • UVC wavelength has been proven to kill viruses and bacteria.

(Both UVA and UVB rays can cause damage to the skin.)

How Does UVC Light Kill Germs?

UVC has short-wavelength ultraviolet radiation which destroys the nucleic acids and breaks germs' DNA apart. (See below for sources)

UV light is used by water treatment plans around the world to kills bacteria which can not be irradiated by chlorine alone.

Some HVAC systems utilize ultraviolet light to kill germs as they pass through air ducts.

Some airlines utilize UVC robots to pass through the cabin between flights to disinfect often touched surfaces in the aircraft.

Hospitals and Dentists have been using ultraviolet light for decades to kill germs.

UV's ability to kill viruses and germs is not new, and has been known since the late 1800's.

Does UVC light kill coronavirus?

CDC has not issued any guidelines for home use of ultraviolet light. WHO does not recommend the use of UV lights on humans, skin or animals.

However, UVC lights have been used by hospitals, medical offices, and dentists for decades to kill viruses similar to coronavirus.

In fact, some hospitals are utilizing ultraviolet light robots to disinfect rooms between patients.

UVC light robot in hospital

According to Consumer Reports, "most likely," UV light will kill coronavirus if used correctly. A recent study in 2017 demonstrated that the ultraviolet "c" light killed MRSA bacteria as effectively as the more powerful rays. The same study was repeated in 2018 on H1N1 virus, yet again it was found to be effective at killing germs without toxic chemicals.

Why Isn't Everyone Using Ultraviolet Light?

Well, ultraviolet light is not safe for humans or living organisms. So one has to be careful to not be exposed to it for a prolonged time. There was a study conducted by the Center of Radiological Research at Columbia Univesity Irving Medical Center which said that "a narrow spectrum of ultraviolet light called far-UVC could kill microbes without damaging healthy tissue." (Source: Medindia)

However, more studies need to be conducted to prove the smaller spectrum is safe for humans and kills bacteria as effectively.

How Can I Use Ultraviolet Light?

Yes, you can. You need to be careful and make sure that no human or animal is in the room for the duration of disinfection while the UV light is on. Take extra care not to look directly into UV light bulb. There are plenty of UV Light stands that feature a remote control or a timer. 

Secondly, not all UV lights and bulbs made equally. There are dozens if not hundreds of poorly made Chinese lights on Amazon, eBay and other markets. These lights are relatively inexpensive compared to UV lights proven to kill germs.

UV Light Sources strives to only link to or sell lights that are "Made or Designed in United States" or have proven to be effective.


    1. Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation

    2. Science Magazine - Could ultraviolet lamps slow the spread of flu?

    3. Medina - Special UV Light Safely Kills Airborne Flu Virus

    4. BBC - Coronavirus: Robots use light beams to zap hospital viruses

    5. Consumer Reports - Does UV light kill coronavirus?

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