IUVA Healthcare/UV Working Group
Troy Cowan IUVA Healthcare/UV Working Group facilitator

With the COVID-19 pandemic starting to stabilize, many things working in the background have started to come to fruition, including the following projects.

Return to normalcy webinar 

As part of the COVID-19 Task Force, the Healthcare Working Group wanted to address the return-to-work transition, and how UV disinfection technologies could help make it safer. That resulted in a five-session, two-day webinar, “Enhancing the New Normalcy with Ultraviolet (UV) Disinfection.”

The premise for the session: The pandemic’s profound and negative impact to communities worldwide has resulted in the suspension of normal activities, having lasting effects on all.

The resulting question: “How can UV technology help with the return to normalcy?” 

The task force’s response was this two-day forum, intended to promote dialogue among UV disinfection stakeholders on potential UV disinfection strategies, concerns and regulatory barriers in restarting normal activities. There were approximately 250 attendees each day.

Prime takeaways are somewhat basic but relevant and critical to defining the path forward:

  • UV-C is an effective adjunct to traditional cleaning in controlling and reducing pathogens.
  • UV-C technologies are adaptable and beneficial to fit specific needs in any environment where additional disinfection is needed, from buildings, airplanes and medical facilities to homes – especially in the ever-widening public consumer market.
  • The wide diversity and rapid evolution of UV-C products on the market has led to many ambitious claims that have outpaced the traditional regulatory coverage, calling out for industry consensus standards to fill the void.
  • Federal regulators are open and willing to engage in dialogue with IUVA representatives on how best to integrate new technologies and products into the existing regulatory framework.
  • Regulators also want to develop a collaborative path forward on ways to enable and promote critical advancements in UV disinfection while ensuring public safety and welfare are protected.

The presentations and session videos are available at www.iuva.org. The Q&A’s, once organized and staffed, also will be posted online. Comments and insights are welcome and will be used as input for follow-up webinars this summer.

New memorandum of understanding with ASHRAE

Similar to IUVA’s relationship with the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES), which includes an active and productive memorandum of understanding (MOU), many IUVA members are heavily involved in American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). Many systems naturally overlap between IUVA and ASHRAE, where UV antimicrobial technologies are incorporated into HVAC, building utility systems and related equipment for disinfection purposes. IUVA has partnered through an MOU with ASHRAE, covering joint development of codes and standards, publications, education and collaborative technical projects.

The IUVA/ASHRAE MOU was approved and released by both IUVA and ASHRAE on May 12. The “grassroots dialogue” already has kicked off between respective members and task leaders to get key projects started, such as:

  • Test and measurement methods for determining and reporting pathogen-specific dosage curves and efficacy outcomes for antimicrobial UV-C devices and systems, especially for UV-C-specific HVAC applications (e.g., UV-C “upper air” devices).
  • Standards and guidelines that establish commissioning requirements for UV antimicrobial systems, mobile whole room disinfection devices and for applying UV water disinfection in cooling towers to control Legionella, algae and fungi in building HVAC systems.
  • Jointly sponsored events (e.g., conferences, webinars, exhibits and presentations), research (e.g., laboratory research, position papers, reports and publications), and testing registries, reporting archives and data repositories related to the above.

Leading the coordination team are Dr. Ashish Mathur and Sam Guzman, both long-standing IUVA and ASHRAE members.

New foundation/consortium task force

During the January 2020 “Defining Standards and Metrology Needs Workshop” held at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland, there were numerous discussions on how the goals of the UV community could be facilitated by developing ways to promote precompetitive collaborative research, such as through a consortium or similar research foundation. This has been reinforced in workshops and webinars, most recently in the “Regulations, Policy and Standards” panel.

In this panel, federal counterparts reiterated how they want to work with IUVA to change the regulatory paradigm so that industry takes the lead in producing standards and guidance, working proactively with the regulators on new regulatory policies and guidance needed to keep pace with technology advances.

To address this situation head-on, the IUVA Executive Board has approved the development of a task force to “Define the Potential and Mechanism of a UV Precompetitive Research Consortium/Research Foundation.” The objective will be to explore the feasibility of establishing a consortium or similar research foundation with multiple corporate and organizational members to facilitate and accelerate certification and consider the efficacy of developing commercial UV technologies.

Such an organization would offer an approach to greatly utilize the broad-based subject matter expertise and domain authority available within the UV stakeholder community. This expertise could, if pooled into a research collaboratory or collaboratories, help to solve many of the overarching issues confronted by the industry.

This collaborative organization would be noncompetitive and work to the good of all members to further market growth in UV technology applications. Such an organization is intended to unify the technical community, provide industrial leverage and assist with all the members’ research needs. Additionally, such a collaborative university/industrial organization could provide the necessary UV voice, leadership and resources to provide an optimum and rapid transfer system for UV technology, reducing the cycle time from university test lab to the marketplace.

The task force is currently in the initial stages of organizing and recruiting and will be evolving rapidly over the next several weeks. Information will be posted on the IUVA website as it becomes available.

The IUVA Healthcare/UV Working Group endeavors 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.

Contact: Troy Cowan, troy@visionbasedconsulting.us