Far-UV is a type of ultraviolet light which has a shorter wavelength than traditional UVGI intervention of 222nm. This means it cannot penetrate the layers of dead skin on humans, but its higher proton energy allows it to kill microorganisms effectively.
- Conventional UV-C systems for air disinfection (known as “indirect emitters”) can operate 24/7 with people present, safely because people are not exposed to the UV radiation. For these systems, far-UV is not required as conventional UV-C is considerably more cost effective when used in this way.
- Conventional UV-C systems for surface disinfection (known as “direct emitters”) should be operated without people present or with precautions in place to prevent exposure. This is because, while it will not cause immediate harm, direct exposure can cause skin damage and temporary arc-eye, so we advise against using direct UV-C devices in a way which may lead to people being exposed to the UV-C radiation.
- Whereas conventional UV-C has been used for over 100 years in medical applications and the risks are known and manageable, Far-UV is still in its experimental phase. As a result, more research is needed into its effects when used in “real-world” environments. For example: There are questions over how it will react with human skin or with face make-up.
- Until it has been more rigorously researched, the International Ultraviolet Association does not support the use of Far-UV.
- It is anticipated that, when it is proven in terms of safety and efficacy in occupied environments, Far-UV will have a great part to play in transit spaces. For example: Lobbies, corridors and elevators.
Since early 2020, we have been in discussions with FAR-UV developers and have supported them in terms of potential applications. Some companies claim that FAR-UV is safe, but there is still doubt among experienced practitioners and there are regulatory issues over the safety of the products (as noted above) in addition to concerns over the proper filtration of the light. The variation of wavelengths 222nm-260nm can cause damage to eyes and skin just like standard UV-C products when in direct emission application. A well-respected Japanese LED producer has even gone as far as saying that these devices could pose a severe threat to human health.
As these products are still in an experimental phase, we will not be supplying these products until there is real world validation that it is exhaustively proven to be safe for direct exposure with human and animals and has certification from bodies such as the FDA and is CE marked.
We recommend extreme caution when considering FAR-UV products until such time as the above are satisfied. We, in the future, will be acting for the best and most professional developers we have aligned to under agreement already.