The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning against the use of ultraviolet (UV) emitting devices to disinfect against Covid-19 as these could be harmful to health if improperly used.
In its Advisory 2020-2052, FDA director general Enrique Domingo noted that exposure to UV radiation could cause skin irritation and damage to the eyes. “The International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation does not recommend the use of UV lamps for consumers or personal use,” he added.
Exposure to UV-A or soft UV can result in skin aging, while contact with UV-C, that is commonly emitted by most disinfection lamps, can lead to sunburns and eye injury. Exposure to UV-B (280 to 315nm) can lead to sunburn, skin cancer and cataracts.
“The FDA strongly advises against the use of UV light for Covid-19 disinfection near or on human body parts,” Domingo stressed, noting that UV devices, such as lamps are now commonly being used in commercial centers, mass transit and other public places as a disinfectant against the coronavirus.
UV can be effective in deactivating viruses, such as Covid-19, but its negative effects on the human body cannot be taken for granted. In most applications where safe usage of UV disinfection devices cannot be ensured, the FDA warning makes sense and Filipinos who have been bombarded with various anti-Covid devices and gimmicks should take heed when considering the purchase and use of such devices that require special attention.
It is tempting to do everything humanly possible to protect ourselves from the dreaded coronavirus but there are measures that can do more harm than good if improperly implemented. UV disinfection devices are one such example and it would be best for Filipinos to heed the warning of the FDA. Those who insist on using such devices are strongly advised to fully read the instruction manuals to ensure safe and proper use.*