Healthcare

Beware of dangerous UV-C lighting products, LIA warns

A row of blue mercury lights
The LIA says that many of the UV-C devices on the market – which are targeted at small businesses and householders – can pose a hazard to human health if not used correctly.

THE LIGHTING Industry Association is warning about a ‘significant number’ of UV-C lighting products on the UK market which it says are ‘potentially dangerous’.

The LIA says it has tested a number of devices claiming to kill viruses and has reported the outcomes to the relevant market surveillance authorities where safety concerns have been identified.

The association says that many of the other devices on the market – which are targeted at small businesses and householders – can pose a hazard to human health if not used correctly.

The LIA is advising potential purchases not to buy any UV-C products without first seeking third party assurances that they are safe for use.

‘It should be noted that there are professional devices available from reputable manufacturers which are designed to be operated safely and effectively but these are generally for specialist applications by trained operators,’ the association said in a statement.

The LIA has, over the last few months, been working to understand the value as well as dangers of UV-C light in the fight against bacteria and viruses including membership of the International UV Association (IUVA).

Dr Gareth John has been heading up the LIA work on UV-C.

Public Health England has also tested a number of similar devices and have raised concerns over their safety and effectiveness.

Through membership of LightingEurope, the LIA has joined a Global Lighting Association task force to publish guidance on UV-C, its effectiveness, hazards and information on devices and applications. 

It’s understood that the guidance is set to be adopted as a PAS by IEC. 

Additional work is being carried out by the LIA in the IEC, national committees of BSI and LightingEurope and we continue to monitor work from other international standardisation bodies and trade associations.

The LIA also says maintain a dialogue with Public Health England on the topic.

The LIA recommends that anyone wishing to understand better the safe and effective utilisation and application of UV-C should consider the content of reports and guidance from the GLA, CIE, IEC and IES.

The body points out that it has invested heavily in its laboratory in Telford with equipment to test for electrical and optical safety, wavelength and the exposure required to achieve published kill rates. 

Members are advised to contact the LIA laboratory should they wish to explore testing of UV-C equipment.