See the light

Why isn’t UV disinfection being used more in the UK in the fight against Covid-19? By Richard Little


There is a convincing argument – backed by sound evidence – for using UV disinfection to improve air in a range of buildings and work environments, including food processing plants, warehouse and logistics facilities and retail outlets, as well as HVAC applications.

In fact, Jenton International has been promoting UV air disinfection against bacteria and viruses since the 1990s. UV itself has been used for disinfection applications for over 100 years and there is a massive body of evidence supporting its efficacy. It is mainstream for air disinfection in HVAC in the USA, Asia and Middle East with many installations in food facilities, offices and retail spaces such as supermarkets.

In the past, we have always been astonished at how unresponsive the European market was in accepting the concept of simple UV disinfection wall units. The proven proposition was that UV dramatically reduced the number of people catching colds, flu and TB from each other, especially at work – with regular coverage on the BBC as a ‘new concept’, and papers published in The Lancet and other publications to support this.

However, this is nothing to how surprised we are this year, especially now that airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 has been highlighted, with how reluctant UK state agencies are to use our simple and effective UV units for offices and other spaces where people are likely to gather. Plus, we have much bigger UV disinfection systems for HVAC and food processing plants.

Fresh air is important for diluting SARS-CoV-2 and reducing the risk of getting Covid-19. The HSE website clearly recommends that recirculating air conditioning is turned off (https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation.htm).

This is supported by the new government-issue film (https://www.gov. uk/government/news/new-film-shows-importance-of-ventilation-to-reduce-spread-of-covid-19).

There is no doubt that fresh air through an open window is best. Back in 1859, Florence Nightingale said that ‘unless the air within the ward can be kept as fresh as it is without, the patients had better be away’. It’s not new! Our proposition has been that where fresh air isn’t available, or practical, in a food factory for example, UV disinfection is the next best thing as you effectively ‘make your own fresh air’.

A McGill university paper published in The Lancet demonstrated in 2003 that UVC on its own in ducting in HVAC equipped offices could reduce sickness in buildings due to colds and flu by a useful 40 per cent. This was without all the handwashing and mask wearing required during the pandemic, so it is logical that combinations will be synergistic.

In addition, a 2020 paper from Signify shows what was achieved in tests using UVC disinfection of SARS-CoV-2 at Boston University. This backs up previously calculated effects based on UVC’s performance against SARS-CoV-1 and surrogates, which proved to be correct.

It is evident that SARS-CoV-2 can be easily disinfected with UV. Jenton’s products supply more than enough UVC to disinfect any SARS-CoV-2 passing through to 99.99 percent, and also many other viruses and bacteria.

Jenton’s wall mounted GRU-V food UV light air disinfection system is suitable for use in large food production and processing facilities, or where fresh food is stored and handled. It helps dramatically improve indoor air quality and energy efficiency, whilst reducing airborne infection rates, absenteeism and building related illnesses.

It is proven that coronavirus survives longer in cold places. The GRUV-V Cool® UV model is designed to clean air in cooler environments such as cold food stores and large refrigeration areas.

Food processing plants can help protect employees from the on-going threat of Coronavirus and ensure business continuity with Jenton’s GRU-V® Jet ceiling mounted UV air disinfection unit.

Ideal for cold storage areas and production lines, the GRU-V® UV Jet air disinfection system is designed to be mounted horizontally approximately 500mm from the ceiling where it can disinfect up to 3,500m³ of air per hour.

Air is pushed through the GRU-V® Jet by a custom-made industrial fan whilst four high power UVC lamps are optimally placed to expose all the passing air to maximum UV intensity.

With the health and safety of workers a priority, Jenton’s GRU-V® Jet’s inlet and outlet louvres ensure everyone in the production area is protected from UVC radiation, without the need for additional PPE.

Jenton offers an on-site UVC sensor calibration service ensuring minimum downtime for customers, as well as health and safety audits once the unit is installed. The company has also developed modelling software to allow prediction of performance in different situations.

Jenton is not a start-up taking advantage, but an expert in the development of high performance UV disinfection systems, with patents, products and partnerships with companies like Heraeus and Philips. Clearly UV disinfection can’t do everything, but it can make an effective contribution.

Jenton International
Richard Little is Managing Director at Jenton International, which has been based in Whitchurch, Hampshire since 1996. It comprises a number of divisions:
· JentonAriana is a provider of food packaging and processing equipment
· JenAct specialises in UV disinfection
· JentonDimaco is a manufacturer of label and data verification equipment
· JentonUV is a specialist in UV curing of inkjet print and other ink and adhesive curing applications
For further information, please visit: www.uvdisinfection.org.uk