Healthcare

Experts unite to draw up UV-C lighting standards

face masks under blue ultraviolet light
The Illuminating Engineering Society and the International Ultraviolet Association have partnered to assemble experts in the measurement of ultraviolet C-band emissions (UV-C) to develop standards for the measurement and characterisation of UV-C luminaire performance.

TOP lighting scientists are uniting in an urgent effort to develop standards for the performance of UV-C luminaires following a boom in interest in the technology.

The Illuminating Engineering Society and the International Ultraviolet Association have partnered to assemble experts in the measurement of ultraviolet C-band emissions (UV-C) to develop standards for the measurement and characterisation of UV-C luminaire performance. 

Despite the proliferation of UV-C products during the Covid-19 pandemic, there is an absence of standards to enable accurate measurement and comparisons of different lights. 

Through the agreement IES and IUVA aim to cooperatively promote awareness of and improve the application of ultraviolet disinfection technology in the healthcare system, initially through the development of standardised methods of measurement of ultraviolet disinfection luminaires including UV lamps, luminaires and other lighting systems, using both discharge lamps such as low-pressure mercury and xenon and LED technologies.

Annually 99,000 people are estimated to die from healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) in the United States alone, more than 11 people per hour. 

HAIs are also estimated to result in £8 billion in medical costs annually. 

UV-C emissions are known to cause photochemical damage to nucleic acids and proteins, inactivating and thus rendering pathogens incapable of reproducing. 

UV-C disinfection devices are therefore useful in healthcare settings to reduce patient and healthcare worker exposure to these pathogens when combined with standard cleaning strategies. 

To enable broader UV-C adoption, healthcare administrators need credible and comparable product performance data to inform investments for both new construction and retrofits.

A series of American National Standards (ANSI standards) are envisioned, beginning with two slated for publication by year’s end. 

The first standard, Approved Method for Electrical and Ultraviolet Measurement of Discharge Sources, will detail laboratory procedures for the measurement and characterisation of low-pressure mercury and other discharge sources. 

The second, Approved Method for Electrical and Ultraviolet Measurement of Solid-State Sources, will do the same for UV-LED components.

IES Director of Standards and Research Brian Liebel told Lux: ‘The Illuminating Engineering Society is dedicated to developing standards and providing educational content on UV-C to help reduce the number of healthcare-associated infections and the transmission of pathogens, such as the SARS-CoV-2 virus. 

‘Working with the International Ultraviolet Association, we feel confident that our organizations can effectively deliver much-needed measurement and testing standards to evaluate new products as they come to market.’

‘IUVA, through its Healthcare/UV Working Group, has been working on developing industry consensus-based standards for UV disinfection since 2018. Establishing this partnership with IES is a key component of making that happen,” said Troy Cowan, the IUVA Working Group’s Coordinator. “We needed representation of the entire lighting sector to build industry-consensus, and IES delivers that. Thanks to IES’ and IUVA’s collaborative efforts, these new ANSI standards will eliminate much of the ambiguity and uncertainty in UV output measurement. This will improve accuracy and quality, and give the healthcare industry a credible basis for assessing output of UV disinfection devices for the first time.’