Healthcare

Beware unfiltered far UV lamps, say scientists

Blue lights against a black background
Ushio scientists say they are ‘deeply concerned’ about the number of potentially unsafe products with a wavelength of 222 nanometres and have taken the unprecedented initiative of issuing an ‘industry health warning’.Credit: Soul Rider Photography

SCIENTISTS at Japanese LED giant Ushio are warning about the number of unfiltered far UV-C lamps set to come onto the market in 2021.

They say they’re deeply concerned about the production of potentially unsafe products with a wavelength of 222 nanometres and have taken the unprecedented initiative of issuing an ‘industry health warning’.

‘These devices present a severe risk to human health, if not correctly filtered’, they say.

The team at Ushio has also released what it terms the ‘cold, hard facts’.

‘The 222 nm excimer discharge lamps currently on the market are not mono-spectral. 

‘The term ‘222 nm’ refers only to the peak wavelength. Other wavelengths are also emitted and many are harmful. 

‘Even a Care222 lamp would be dangerous if there was no filter, because the lamp produces up to and beyond 260 nm.’

‘To be clear,’ Ushio continues, ‘the UV-C ‘safe zone’ is at 200 nm to 230 nm’.

The company says it has worked with global research institutions to figure out how to filter the harmful rays. 

Columbia University Irving Medical Center successfully produced a viable filter for Ushio’s products in the far UV spectrum.

‘The component which ensures our lamp remains safe for human exposure is that filter, and we have the worldwide exclusive rights to the technology,’ said the company in a statement.

‘The numerous researchers of 222 nm safety used our filtered lamps.

‘If anyone tries to sell you an unfiltered 222 nm discharge lamp, supposedly ‘safe for human exposure’, walk away.’