Radiation Safety

Advisory on the Use of UVC Sterilisers in the Home

Advisory

As Ultraviolet-C (UVC) radiation can cause eye injury (e.g. irritation and inflammation of cornea) and skin injury (e.g. erythema), NEA does not recommend the household use of sterilisers that use UVC radiation for disinfection. This is because some devices marketed for home use lack safety features that protect users from unintended or accidental exposure to UV radiation.

NEA has taken measures and worked with major retailers to protect consumers from UVC health risks. Shopee, Amazon.sg, Ezbuy.sg, Qoo10.sg and Carousell have been actively removing listings of UVC devices that are not safe and pose risk of exposure to UVC radiation, demonstrating their social responsibility. Members of public are advised not to purchase any UVC steriliser product that do not have safety features to prevent accidental exposure. NEA advises other physical stores and online sales platforms to follow the lead of the above mentioned retailers and refrain from selling UVC steriliser products that are unsafe for consumers.

Other alternative disinfection methods for the home are available. Please refer to NEA’s list of active ingredients and household disinfectant and cleaning products for disinfection of the COVID-19 virus.

Is UVC safe?

UVC radiation has wavelengths of 100nm - 280nm and is in the spectrum of the sun’s radiation that we are rarely exposed to, as the ozone layer in the stratosphere prevents UVC rays from reaching the surface of the earth.

UVC poses potential health risks such as eye injury (e.g. irritation and inflammation of cornea) and skin injury (e.g. erythema). Chronic exposure to UV radiation can also accelerate the skin aging process and increase the risk of skin cancer. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised that UV sterilisers should not be used to disinfect the hands or any areas of the skin.1

UV products are to be kept out of reach of children.

The use of UVC for disinfection is advised only for use in an industrial/commercial setting. For more information on NEA’s guidelines, please refer to it here.

References

  1. World Health Organisation (WHO), Novel Coronavirus 2019: Advice for the public-Mythbusters, 27 April 2020