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Since the start of the pandemic the beginning of the pandemic, Signify, as the world’s leader in lighting, has answered the call to action and further developed these technologies to be used in both commercial and consumer sectors by having a proven track record of developing innovative UV-C products and applications.
On the path back to normalcy, business and companies are prioritizing the safety of their workspaces. As offices are slowly re-opening at full capacity, it is important that companies take indoor air quality management measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 or any future airborne diseases.
In the past year, the pandemic had caused an upwards spike in the interest in UV-C technology.
The Malaysian government in particular has offered subsidies for any businesses that are looking to renovate their spaces for better air circulation in order to encourage business owners to improve air ventilation at work.
However, as renovation is not an option for all, hence businesses and companies can opt for more convenient solutions that can help with indoor air purification — such as UV-C air purifiers, as an example.
In this exclusive interview with DailyStraits.com, the company tells us why they should be the go to whenever it comes to all things indoor air quality products.
What is UV-C technology and how does it work?
The peak output of a UV-C lamp is 253.7 which is very close to the maximum effectiveness of UV-C (265nm). UV-C is a light with wavelength of 200-280 nm light that is used for germicidal application and disinfection purposes. It deactivates the microorganism by breaking down the DNA and RNA of bacteria, viruses and spores, leaving them harmless. They become harmless and not able to reproduce.
What is the efficacy of UV-C as a form of disinfection? Can you share some insights from the studies of it?
Signify’s upper air UV-C airborne disinfection test demonstrated that 99.99 per cent at log 4 reduction of SAR-S CoV-2 viruses which was inactivated within 10 mins. At 20 minutes, the virus was below detectable levels. This study has been conducted by a third party lab called Innovative Bioanalysis Lab. The UV-C Air Disinfection portable unit is also effective at a rate 99.99 per cent against SARS COV-2 virus. One can achieve any disinfection rate with UV-C as it is a function of time and UV-C dosage. Signify also worked with Boston University to perform a series of measurements to test the effectiveness of Philips UV-C lamps against the SARS COV-2 and the result shows that within 6 seconds the effectiveness is up to 90 per cent.
How does Signify aka Philips Lighting incorporate UV-C within the air purifiers?
Within the air purifier, there is a UV-C sterilization chamber with a fitting which allows 4 UV-C lamps to be installed in the large size Air disinfection unit. The UV-C sterilization chamber is being fixed in the hollow composite HEPA filter element and eventually forming a disinfect and purification effect. The reason for putting UV-C lamps along with HEPA filters is that HEPA can only eliminate viruses or bacteria which have a size of more than 0.3 micron whereas UV-C is effective against size smaller than that.
In what setting do the UV-C air purifiers work most effectively?
UV-C Air purifiers are meant to purify and disinfect the air. It works most effectively in Indoor environment and can be used for schools, offices, clinics, hospitals, religious centers , vaccination centers etc. The difference between UV-C Air purifier and Normal purifier is that UV-C air purifier comes with HEPA filter as well as with UV-C Chamber. HEPA will remove the dust particles , polons , hairs , fibers etc. and is effective against bacteria & viruses which have size more than 0.3 micron, whereas UV-C will disinfect the air from all bacteria & viruses and effective against even those which have size < 0.3 micron.
With the increased public interest in UV-C technology, there are also some rising concerns about the dangers of UV-C. How do you address these concerns?
A major concern is that UV-C light is only effective on solid surfaces like walls and floors, but this is not the case. Devices such as the Signify UV-C disinfection Air purifiers , Upper Air meant to disinfect the air as well. Another misconception is that UV-C is effective against only a few bacteria and viruses but that is not true. So far no bacteria and virus can sustain UV-C irradiation.
Besides that, due to UV-C light being imperceptible to the human eye, many may also believe that it is safe to be used on people or animals. However, the effectiveness of UV-C lights also poses health risks like damage to skin cells or retinae if not used with the necessary safety measures such as built into Philips UV-C disinfection solutions.
Can you share the adoption rate and also some examples of UV-C disinfection amongst businesses/companies in Malaysia?
After it has been claimed by CDC and WHO that COVID-19 primarily spreads through the air rather than the surface , a lot of government agencies adopted UV-C as one of the disinfection methods. KKM (Ministry of Health Malaysia) came up with the guidelines for Healthcare settings to use UV-C technology to improve the air quality.
In Malaysia market the common UV-C disinfection solutions which are being used for air, surface and object disinfection. Air disinfection solutions are meant for the areas where the foot fall is very high such as malls, meeting rooms, retail outlets , churches , mosques , schools , clinics etc. The key objective of those to disinfect the air from harmful bacteria and viruses. The surface disinfection solutions can only be used when living beings are not around. The object disinfection solution to disinfect the surface of personal objects such as mails, mobile, tablets etc.
Do you foresee the utilisation of UV-C as a disinfection tool to remain strong post-pandemic?
Yes. Covid-19 pandemic leaves a very strong impact on public hygiene issues and healthy issues globally. It shall remain strong as right now in the market, for example air purifiers in the malaysia market, all the rivals are having a purifying effect without disinfection.
By continuous education among consumers, i strongly believe there will be strong demand from customers as the current purifiers are only able to trap the microorganisms in the filter without deactivating it. Whereas, Phillips UV-C technology is able to achieve 99.99 per cent log 4 reduction of SARS-Cov-2 at 10 minutes, at 20 minutes it is below detectable levels. By taking in the concern that UV-C is able to inactivate microorganisms, this will definitely improve the indoor air quality as well. People are able to breathe in cleaner air using UV-C technology.
Can your products be used as an add-on to transform the current office air-cons regardless of the brands into air purifiers?
So far our UV-C Air purifier is only meant for purification and disinfection and can’t be a substitute for air-cons.
What is your best-selling product and why?
Our best selling product is UV-C Air purifier and that is because it is portable so you can move easily from one place to another place and available in three different sizes to suit wider size of rooms.
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June Ramli is the editor of DailyStraits.com. To stay in touch with June, look her up on Twitter @junesairaramli