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Linda Mundorff

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January 2010

Food Handling, Cooking, and Storage

 

UV-C Light Technology: Portable Disinfection

November 2009
By Dr. Linda Mundorff, MPH,MSN,ND,RN,CNC,CTN

My family has owned a motor home (RV) for years and it has been our mode of travel for many summer vacations. I have very little issue with the RV except being a nurse I do worry about the ease of which germs can spread, with four people in small quarters. Below is a brief list of some of the most commonly spread germs:

  • Intestinal virus (Norovirus)
  • Common cold (rhinovirus)
  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • E. coli
  • Clostridium difficile

Our Sun - Nature's Disinfectant

Our world is full of germs and the sun's natural disinfection abilities prevent germs from multiplying so germs are kept in balance. Decades ago, scientists discovered that the C-Band of Ultraviolet (UV) light was the reason for this natural disinfectant, and they captured this process in a UV- C light device.

How does it Work?

The UV-C light device inhibits the growth (reproduction) of bacteria, viruses, molds, and even dust mites found in all homes and other structures. Much research has been done since the late 1990's on the health benefits of using this technology. The process is chemical free, odorless, and will not pollute the environment. One such study performed at a large Florida hospital stated,

"We have found that the high output UVC energy kills or inactivates both coil and drain pan mold and bacteria (to eliminate their toxins, VOC and spore production, and allergens)"

Polluted Indoor Air

According to reports made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), polluted indoor air is a major health problem. Over time, exposure to these respiratory irritants can trigger other problems like, chronic inflammation, asthma, allergies, and other respiratory ailments.

Daily ventilation of our home, work, and school environments can greatly decrease the incidence of illness, just by cycling stale air out and fresh air in. Fortunately, polluted indoor air is not a problem in RVs because it is so easy to ventilate. However, the ability to spread germs through cross-contamination is no exception for the RV.

Cross-Contamination

Cross-contamination is the spread of germs by the sharing of items, from the telephone and computer mouse to doorknobs and TV/cable remote controls. Electronics and other sensitive devices cannot be cleaned with ordinary household cleaning agents. Very few people think about the growing number of germs on the surface of these products. However because these products harbor so many germs, the potential for illness is great.

Ordinary Cleaning Products

We all use a variety of products to clean our homes and probably use the same products in our campers and motor homes. The problem is that these products are not able to destroy many of these germs lurking in and around our homes and recreational vehicles. In addition, many of the chemical additives have severe health warnings.

Reports of skin irritations, allergic reactions, respiratory tissue damage, and even cancer have been linked to some of these harsh ingredients. Moreover, the chemicals emitted from these products can contribute to the polluting of our water systems. If you read the labels of some of your favorite cleaning products, you might be surprised to find harmful ingredients such as ammonia, chloride, formaldehyde, nitrobenzene and petroleum. Besides going green, there might be another alternative, as in UV-C disinfection.

UV-C Disinfection Made Simple

I tried the CleanWave UV-C Sanitizing Wand and found it to be lightweight, at approximately 26 inches in length and portable. My children and I suffer from allergies and one of the worst offenders for us is dust-mites. I love the fact that these devices have been found to significantly reduce dust-mites. I have used it on mattresses, pillows, comforters, and stuffed animals. Disinfection time for many objects is just seconds:

  • Toothbrush, dentures, and kids retainers
  • T.V. and cable remotes
  • Computer mouse and keyboard
  • Telephone receivers, cell phones, and other hand-held electronics

In conclusion, the war for a greener and cleaner environment has just made a new ally. UV-C light although not new, is finding its way into homes across America and around the world. While there are many natural products on the market that eliminate the need for toxic and harmful ingredients the UV-C light offers another option to disinfecting the home, car, work, recreational vehicles, and school environments.

Disclaimer: Dr. Mundorff is a Registered Nurse and Board Certified Traditional Naturopath, and not a medical doctor. The information in this column is for educational purposes only and should not be used to self-diagnose and treat diseases, nor be misinterpreted as a prescription. This information is provided with the understanding that the author is not engaging in a health-care practitioner/patient relationship with her readers. In the author's best judgment, the information and opinions expressed here are accurate and sound at the time of publication. Readers who rely on the information in this book as a replacement of the advice of a medical doctor assume all risks of such conduct. The author is not responsible for errors or omissions. Please consult your doctor before starting any alternative modalities.