Technology Briefing: Far-UVC Disinfection Devices

September 10, 2020 | Evaluations & Guidance


Here's a briefing on far-UVC environmental disinfection devices, outlining the key considerations for making wise purchasing decisions. **We review how and where the technology is used, which applications it is best suited to, the strength of the evidence to support its use, and more.

Far-UVC disinfection devices emit light in the far-ultraviolet C (UVC) range (approximately 200-230 nm wavelengths) to disinfect air and nonporous surfaces within unoccupied spaces in healthcare (e.g., ICUs, oncology units), industrial (e.g., manufacturing facilities), and commercial (e.g., recreational facilities, offices) settings in order to slow the spread of infectious diseases. Some products are also marketed for use in occupied spaces, but this practice is controversial.

Definitions of the far-UVC range vary from 200-225 nm to 200-240 nm. The most commonly used far-UVC wavelengths are 207 and 222 nm.

To be considered in this category, a product must emit light in the germicidal far-UVC range. It must be permanently installed, and may have motion sensors or switches for activation when a room is unoccupied. Some systems may be continuously active to combat the spread of pathogens. Far-UVC disinfection devices are intended for use as an adjunct to manual cleaning and disinfection of nonporous environmental surfaces. Although there are variations of this technology, such as far-UVC wands and other portable devices, they are not covered in this article.

Some far-UVC devices are marketed for the purpose of disinfecting people and their belongings. As discussed below, ECRI is not yet convinced that this practice is safe or effective and does not recommend purchase or implementation of these devices.

Although far-UVC light has been used in some applications for several years, it has not been commonly used in healthcare facilities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, far-UVC devices have been garnering interest due to claims that the light is safe for human exposure. However, research into this question is preliminary, and many experts do not currently...

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