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Ultraviolet rays form part of the natural sunlight spectrum. In the wavelength range of 253.7 nm (nanometers), they have a germicidal effect on bacteria, viruses, yeasts and mold. The UV-C disinfection of the air and surfaces effectively inactivates the microorganisms.
The innovative technology of UV disinfection results in direct advantages for the user:
- The technology of UV disinfection knows no chemistry, no toxic compounds and no resistance formation.
- Unwanted microorganisms are inactivated within seconds, while the product and its properties are preserved.
- UV-C is therefore green, clean and efficient.
Ultraviolet radiation, like visible light or radio waves, is electromagnetic radiation and cannot be perceived by the human eye. By definition, it covers the spectral range from 100 to 380 nm and thus directly joins the blue, visible part of the light.
The ultraviolet spectrum includes wavelengths up to 380 nm and is divided as follows:
- UV-A 380-315 nm “black light”, longest wavelength UV rays and responsible for skin tanning
- UV-B 315-280 nm responsible for sunburn
- UV-C 280-200 nm disinfection effect
- UV-C-VUV 200-100 nm Ozone formation
Ultraviolet radiation occurs in solar radiation. Because of the absorption in the earth’s atmosphere (especially in the ozone layer), radiation with a wavelength above 300 nm – mainly UV-A and a small part of UV-B – penetrates to the earth’s surface.
The very high-energy UV-C radiation triggers a photochemical reaction. The wavelengths at 253.7 nm are absorbed by the cell nucleic acids and, depending on the irradiation dose, lead to a molecular rearrangement of the micro-organism DNA, killing or damaging the bacteria and fungal spores. UV-C radiation is therefore used to specifically damage or kill microorganisms (such as bacteria/viruses, yeasts and moulds). Scientific sources on the effectiveness of UV-C can be found in the literature and in reports on field use, mainly in the USA (NIOSH, OSHA, are CDC, GSA, EPA). Notable publications have come from the University of Cincinnati, Tulsa University, the University of Colorado, and McGill University (Canada), to name a few.
The dose principle refers to the fundamental influence of the factors time and power. The product of irradiation time and irradiation intensity is given in mW*s/cm².
UV-C dose (mWs/cm²) = intensity (mW/cm²) x time (s)
While simple structured microorganisms show a high sensitivity to UV-C radiation, i.e. they can easily be deactivated with a low dose, much higher energies are necessary to kill fungi and spores. The effectiveness of UV-C in inactivating microorganisms is therefore always directly related to the dose applied. In this way, disinfection rates of up to 99.99 % are possible.
Various influencing factors such as dwell times, humidity and temperatures must be taken into account when designing UV-C equipment.
flow-med uses only special UV-C lamps for disinfection. The low pressure lamp (<10mbar ) is a cold cathode tube made of a special glass filled with argon and traces of mercury vapour. When the ignition voltage is applied, a plasma arc forms in the spectral line of 253.7 nm as the dominant emission (>90%). The UV-C lamp is designed for 10,000 operating hours. With a daily operating time of 8 minutes, the UV-C lamp has a service life of approx. 20 years!
An important advantage of physical UV disinfection is that it cannot cause the formation of resistance. UV-C disinfection also works when germs have already acquired resistance to conventional disinfection measures such as alcohol, antibiotics, … have acquired.
UV disinfection works on all microorganisms, whether they are common Escherichia coli (7000 mW S/cm2), Salmonella typhosa (6000 mW S/cm2), SARS, Legionella or mold. An exact UV-C dose, an optimized device design and many years of application know-how are the prerequisites for the desired success.
UV-C radiation used incorrectly poses health risks. In case of direct irradiation in too high a dose, UV-C rays cause reddening of the skin (erythema), inflammation of the eyes and damage to DNA in humans. Therefore, neither humans nor animals may be directly irradiated. The European Directive 2006/25/EC10 and ISO 15858 specify the limit values for protection. Exposure during an 8-hour working day should not exceed 60 J/m² at 254 nm.
The flow-med care products are exclusively intended for UV-C hygiene on technical products and their surfaces. Warnings on the product, in the operating instructions, protective devices, sensors, shielding of the drying chamber by suitable plastics such as Makrolon® and opaque materials provide maximum protection for the user.
The dosage and the exposure time are far below the specified limits. flow-med has had compliance with all international safety standards verified by risk assessment and certificates CE, FCC and STC. The STC certificate proves the microbacterial germ reduction of 99.9%. Test reports can be viewed on request.
UV-C lamps are successfully used for the disinfection of water, food, in medical practices, hospitals and laboratories.
Bacteria and germs are becoming more common and pose a significant health risk. Moisture and body secretions are a good breeding ground for bacteria to colonize and multiply. The hygienic cleaning by means of UV-C light prevents irritations and infection risks in the ear. Hearing instrument fitting and acclimatization is less complicated. Clinical cleanliness is the best guarantee for maintaining health.
Daily application with flow-med products with UV-C in combination with drying also offers maximum protection and value retention for the hearing systems. The risk of failure decreases, repair costs can be reduced, and the life expectancy and usability of the hearing systems increase.