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Do UV Lamps Cause Cancer?

Oct. 29, 2021

This is an important question. Direct exposure to germicidal UV lamps can have a devastating effect on materials and people if not used or implemented properly. Overexposure to UV-C lighting can harm humans in a number of ways, such as eye and skin damage. It can also cause damage to materials, such as corrosion of rubber gaskets or plastics. It is because of these potential negative effects of UV-C disinfectant lighting that it is vital to use the right products to provide benefits in a variety of applications.


One of the easiest ways to avoid any type of skin or eye damage is to ensure that any UV-C lamp system considered contains some sort of reverse occupancy sensor to ensure that the lamp does not operate a cycle when someone enters the space during disinfection. The ability of the UV lighting system to use the disinfection cycle is also important. Different facility types, spaces and materials have different disinfection cycle lengths. If used properly, UV-C systems will provide enough germicidal UV to ensure that pathogens are killed, but not enough to cause damage to surfaces or materials.


Do UV lamps cause cancer?

Most skin cancers and the vast majority of UV exposure are caused by the sun. Artificial sources of UV light, such as UV lighting, can also cause cancer. Fortunately, artificial forms of UV lighting can be avoided or used safely to reduce the risk.

As for UV disinfection lighting and cancer risk, the risk can be reduced by using protective equipment and following all directions when interacting with light, as described above.

Hand Held UV Lamp

 Hand Held UV Lamp

Can UV lights damage skin and other materials?

As mentioned above, both artificial and naturally occurring UV rays can damage the skin. The risk can be reduced with appropriate safety measures.


We have already discussed that personal protective equipment or PPE should not be used more than once. That said, in today's coronavirus-ridden world, it is imperative to reuse PPE. many sources report that disinfection with UV lamps is your best option and will not damage equipment as much as hard chemical cleaners.


UV does damage plastics; this is well established. This is another reason why you need to follow instructions when using UV lighting.


Has UV lighting been clinically studied? Has it been approved?

Yes, it is an FDA regulated industry. In addition, the CDC recommends UV disinfection as one of our best defences for 'cleaning' masks today.

UVC Disinfection

 UVC Disinfection     

What happens if someone walks into an area being disinfected during the decontamination process?

It is important to follow the instructions for the safe use of UV lighting - this is a good guide. If someone walks in, they could cause damage to their eyes or skin. It is unlikely that any permanent damage will be caused, but it is certainly not recommended. Instead, try using controls and locks to ensure security and clear signage to avoid someone getting in when they shouldn't.


Can I look through the window at the UV disinfection lamp?

Yes, almost 100% of UV-C is blocked by normal window glass, so you are not exposed to this type of damage.


Do you need special training to use UV lighting?

Yes, you will need special equipment and training to use UV lighting professionally in public places. Often, purchasing special equipment will provide you with the instructions you need. There are some residential applications of UV lighting that do not require training, but any large-scale commercial use will require instruction to ensure proper and safe use.

Not sure which system is right for you?We'd be happy to provide the right solution for your application! If you want to get more information about the best hand held UV lamp, welcome to contact us today or request a quote.  





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