UV-C portable sanitizer.
Let there be light! Well, let there be UV-C light! In light (no pun intended), of the current pandemic, I want to revisit something that I have looked into, well, mostly my wife, UV light to disinfect drinking water. The purpose of purchasing such an item was to add it to our earthquake kit. It is similar to the steripen sold at REI. I have not checked our earthquake kit but it probably might be the same steripen pictured below.
Now, UV-C sanitizers come in various sizes, power, and claims. So, with the pandemic hitting us, I an only assume that companies are taking advantage by flooding the market with their UV-C sanitizing products. They all claim to work, but how do we know it works? Are the light bulbs even emitting UV-C? As humans we cannot see UV light, further more, UV-C is dangerous to our biology. So, what that means is we cannot stare at the light, nor even expose our skins to the light. The claims that companies make about their products seem suspect, more often than not they seem too good to be true. For example, I expose my workspace with UV-C for 5-10 seconds and…viola! It has killed 99.9% of all germs, viruses, and yucky bacteria. You might do more research, which contradicts the claims made by the companies selling these products. You, as will as I, get confused and dishearten because I just spent $30-$50 on a product that might not do that it says. Bummer, right?
So, I wanted to see there was any way I could test my portable UV-C sanitizer. I wanted so badly to proof that this product I bought (pictured above) actually works. If it did not, well, I was going to keep using it, thus giving me the false sense of security. Or if it even did emit an iota of UV-C, I would help it along with the power of prayer and faith that my workspace was clean. I went online, performed a quick.research and found an interesting way of testing to see if your sanitizer emits UV-C. It is the IV-C green banana test, originally I read about it on a website, which is lost to me but was able to find the YouTube video it mentioned the link is here:
It was actually simple. The Sharper Image UV-C Sanitizer I purchased comes with no specifications, so no way to really tell the bulb’s output. Any how, you turn it on, audible beeps warning to you go away, then it turns on for ten minutes, and shuts off. Well, ten minutes is short so I used a ten timer on my watch and started it when I saw the light turn on. I initially was going to just stop at an hour, because the Sharper Image UV-C allows for the 10 minutes of operation six times. I kept mine plugged in so I gave it another 30 minutes for a total of 90 minutes just for good measure. But now something funky is going on with the batter indicator light but it still works. The picture below is the result after placing the UV-C sanitizer directly on the the banana and I also placed a hand held mirror behind it to reflect the other side of the sanitizer back down towards the banana. Apologize for the blurry picture.
The next experiment I conducted was to place the green banana approximately six inches from the UV-C sanitizer, so that way it was not in right contact. I the procedure I performed was the same for the first test except instead of taking pictures of the banana after the first ten minutes auto shut off and the very last auto shut off of the UV-C. I decided to take pictures of the banana every time I had to restart the UV-C sanitizer after it shuts off after its preset ten minute auto shutoff. So instead of inserting ten photos of the green banana with my thumb, I went with the picture below which it the result after 110 minutes of exposure.
So I decided perhaps the banana was too far from the sanitizer and that the banana had to be more in direct line of exposure. Now the banana is directly in front of the sanitizer at a distance approximately an inch and half or so.
And the results, after a thrilling thirty minutes of exposure? Well…I was pretty excited about the results and forgot to take a picture. Sigh. But just trust me, it did turn brown. The brown was a tad darker than the first ten minutes of direct UV-C sanitizer contact with the banana that I conducted in the first experiment. Look at the second photo and then…use your imagination. I could do the experiment over and I just might but it would be a follow up to this article.
In case you were wondering the link I provided from Nature goes into detail about UV-C, the effective wave lengths that can kill viruses, etc., yet still be relatively safe for people. The waves lengths are 207-222nm was effective to kill the samples they used for their study (https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-67211-2.pdf).
The bulbs they used for their studies were commercial grade, I did not look into it, but I am sure they could be used for home or travel. The product I am experimenting and reviewing, is for use not in a commercial setting. It is rather more for personal, small spaces, and it was marketed as being portable, convenient, easy to use, and bring peace of mind. I think, the product I got does in fact put out UV-C. How much power is it really putting out? I do not know, but probably not much, they are for consumers. Maybe the companies that produce and market these low power UVC sanitizers want consumers to use hope and prayer along with their products. Who knows.
In the end, you should probably use your due diligence and do the research, or ask someone knowledgeable about which UVC products will work. Currently, with the pandemic I can see people still wanting to buy UVC products, but as with everything things will pass. Remember the beginning of the pandemic? Certain essential items were flying off the selves at your local grocery stores? Now you fast forward a few months, even now a year later, things are back to normal, with the exception of people wearing masks. People’s needs are changing, and so will the need for UVC products at home. For me personally, there is that saying, “Better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.” The links below are articles that I found useful.