IUVA Healthcare/UV Working Group
Contact: Troy Cowan director, Vision Based Consulting, at troy@visionbased-consulting.us

Since the last issue, there has been a tremendous amount of outreach activity focused on expanding the visibility and credibility of UV healthcare technologies and efficacy standards.

APIC LogoIn June, the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC)1 held its annual conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where 23 exhibitors displayed healthcare disinfection UV devices. With such a significant presence on the exhibition floor, one would think there would be comparable visibility in the presentations and poster sessions, but there was not. The only presentation was by Dr. John Boyce, and even though it was held at 6 a.m., more than 250 people came to hear him talk on “Latest Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection Practices,” where the benefits and issues with latest UV technologies were highlighted. It is believed the significant attendance and the number of exhibitors demonstrate the viability and interest in UV, enough to warrant increased podium time in future conferences.

ASHRAE LogoAlso in June, Sam Guzman and Dr. Richard Martinello presented an overview of IUVA and the Healthcare Working Group’s efforts to two American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE)2 Technical Committees, TC 9.6 Healthcare Facilities and TC 2.9 Ultraviolet Air and Surface Treatment at the ASHRAE Annual Conference held in Kansas City, Kansas. The Healthcare/UV Working Group efforts resonated with both groups, and both were amenable to discussing joint efforts. In TC 2.9, further joint discussions were put to a vote, and there was unanimous agreement to do so. Thanks to that and ongoing efforts by Guzman, discussions are being held on collaborations with ASHRAE on developing efficacy standards through ASHRAE’s director of technology and senior manager of standards.

ISO LogoMore recently, the Healthcare Working Group has been approached by representatives of the Internaional Organization for Standardization (ISO)3 Technical Committee TC142 “Cleaning equipment for air and other gases” to discuss possible collaboration with them, as well. The group has been invited to attend ISO’s 15th annual meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, Sept. 23-26; Options are being explored to present an overview to them as well and explore collaboration options. A pre-conference get-acquainted meeting is scheduled for Sept. 20 to help understand how ISO could fit into the picture at this early stage.

New challenges for efficacy standards and their application

UV LightEvery day, new UV products are being marketed as disinfecting devices, some even touted as being able to sterilize (i.e., able to kill all organisms exposed to the device). Many are LED-based and utilize wavelengths other than 254 nm (the Hg-based underpinning for most “k” value and fluence value tables now in use to estimate likely pathogen reductions). This greatly complicates estimating their efficacy using normal “k” value calculations.

As an example: Sunuv S1 Factory Directly Mobile Sterilizer/Phone Sanitizer/UV Sterilizer Box for Jewelry/Key4 (395 nm/280 nm dual light source; reports 99.99% E. coli kill).

Many products are handheld and hand-activated, meaning the distance from the treated surface will vary, and the amount of time the surface is treated also will vary. Examples of these include:

Room and Hospital UV Sterilization 254 nm Ozone Free UV Sanitizer5 (a portable, tabletop battery-powered device)

Horicreate UV-C Micro Instant Sterilizer, Portable UV Sterilizer6 (a handheld, battery-powered device)

Clean Trust Household Disinfection UV Sterilizer Device7 (handheld device for sterilizing glasses, toothbrushes, etc.)

Other products purport to use UV to disinfect soft and/or irregular surfaces to fairly high levels (sometimes described as sterilizing). Examples include:

Good Performance 254 nm UV light sterilizer for herbal spices powder8

Family Health Ultraviolet Light Germ Bacteria UV Killer Glove Underwear Sterilizer and Dryer9

Patent CE Certification High Technology Clothes Hanger with UV Sterilizer for Home Use10

While it will be challenging, a standard can be developed that would enable the standardized testing and performance measurement of these and similar devices to ensure that they perform as advertised. Such a standard would not only be effective in helping the industry self-regulate, but also aid federal and other governmental organizations in developing credible procurement specifications (e.g., for use in the Veterans Affairs hospital system) and in ferreting out potentially fraudulent and misleading practices (e.g., as done by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Healthcare conference

NIST LogoThe Healthcare Working Group is planning to hold a conference Jan. 14-15, 2020, at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)11 headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland. This conference will continue discussions started at the Sept. 27 workshop at the Yale School of Medicine. The goal of this conference will be to promote:

innovation in the effective use of UV-C and other light spectra for disinfection in healthcare settings and its implementation,

safe healthcare and facilitate industry ability to support safe healthcare, and

productive discussions, networking, research and business relationships related to the use of light technologies for disinfection in healthcare settings.

The conference will feature state-of-the-art discussions on the use of light spectra for disinfection, measurement of light and challenges impacting broader implementation of light technologies for disinfection in healthcare. All will lead to a proposed release of a draft efficacy standard for UV disinfection devices.

Special thanks to these contributing authors

  • Dr. Richard Martinello, associate professor of medicine (infectious diseases) and of pediatrics, Yale School of Medicine
  • Dr. Cameron Miller, research chemist, National Institute of Standards and Technology
  • Sam Guzman, regional manager, American Ultraviolet

Through the IUVA Healthcare/UV Working Group, endeavors are being made to promote the acceptance of UV disinfecting technologies as a credible, valued part of environmental management throughout the healthcare industry. In this column, the UV community will be updated on these efforts and the latest information on UV technology as it pertains to the healthcare industry.