Safe & Healthy Disinfecting UV Light
April 7th, 2021
But after planting the seed in consumers’ minds that its “sanitizing wand” protects against the coronavirus, Ontel continues to claim on the Safe & Healthy website that the device helps clean and disinfect various types of surfaces, while warning that germs, bacteria and – here’s the important one – viruses live on those frequently touched surfaces.
Meanwhile, product packaging prominently states that Safe & Healthy “Kills Viruses* In Seconds!” and “Kills 99.9% Of Harmful Viruses*, Germs & Bacteria!”
But unlike the Safe & Healthy website, which discloses (in the middle of a long paragraph that consumers may not notice) that the device “has not yet been tested and approved for use in treating COVID-19 or novel coronavirus,” the disclaimer on the box instead names the viruses that the product has purportedly been shown to eliminate, without any mention of its ineffectiveness against COVID-19.
UV sanitizers in the spotlight
Ontel claims its Safe & Healthy device uses UVC light or UVC radiation, which works by destroying the molecular bond in DNA.
UVC radiation has effectively been used for decades to reduce the spread of bacteria, according to the FDA. It may also be effective in inactivating the virus that causes COVID-19 – or it may not be. More research is needed. The FDA says:
The effectiveness of UVC lamps in inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus is unknown because there is limited published data about the wavelength, dose, and duration of UVC radiation required to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
For these reasons, among others, the FDA recommends that UV disinfecting devices be used only after manual cleaning has been performed. So don’t toss those sanitizing wipes just yet.
According to James Malley, an expert on UV sanitization who was recently interviewed by the CBC, most publicly available UV wands and devices “do not achieve the level of disinfection that they might claim.” Among the products Malley has tested, none achieved 99.9% disinfection. Most killed only 50-80% of bacteria and viruses.
Find more of our coverage on COVID claims here.