A Tale as Old as Time.

When you see that traditional blue hue of UV-C light, your first thought might be that this is some kind of futuristic technology. The truth is that the knowledge of UV-C light goes way back, think over 100 years back. Notice I said, “the knowledge”? That’s because ultraviolet light is as old as the universe. It’s truly a tale as old as time.

In 1877, British Physiologist Arthur Downs and scientist Thomas P. Blunt put solution-filled test tubes outside and found that sunlight could kill and slow or stop the development of pathogenic bacteria. Then about a quarter of a century later Ernst Hertel, a German Ophthalmologist, dove even deeper into their discovery. Hertel was able to determine that it is the light in the UV-C wavelength, not the UV-A or UV-B, that is the most effective at killing microorganisms. Around the same time, Danish professor Niels Finsen won the Nobel Prize for Physiology for his work in treating lupus bacteria on human skin with concentrated light.

Then in the 1930s and 1940s, William F. Wells, a Harvard University sanitary engineer discovered that bacteria and viruses can be transmitted to people through the air they breathe. Furthermore, he applied this knowledge by installing UV lamps in suburban Philadelphia schools to try and slow the spread of measles. He then compared infection rates between schools with UV-C and schools without UV-C. What he found was that schools without UV-C lamps saw a 53.6% infection rate and schools using UV-C lamps only saw a 13.3% infection rate. This was a huge step forward in showing the effectiveness of UV-C light as a way to combat viruses and bacteria in the air we breathe.

Around the same time, Dr. Deryl Hard began experimenting with UV-C light to disinfect an operating room at Duke University Hospital. He found that by doing this there was a reduction in postoperative infection rates of 11.38%. I don’t know about you, but I think I’d like to be in the operating room that’s been disinfected that way!

This technology began being used in hospitals and schools over the next few decades, further cementing the evidence that UV-C light can inactivate microorganisms and bacteria. It was also around this time that UV-C was first tried out in HVAC systems. Unfortunately, they struggled to repeat the success that William F. Wells had experienced in the Philadelphia classrooms. And by the 1950s antibiotics came roaring onto the scene slowing development and interest in UV-C light as a means to kill off bacteria.

Enter superbugs. As antibiotics rose in popularity it was learned that germs were becoming resistant to those drugs. Meaning the antibiotics just couldn’t kill the same viruses and bacteria they had previously. By 1995, the world was ready for a UV-C revival and Forrest Fencl, a co-founder of UV Resources, was ready to get things moving again. Fencl’s work involving coil irradiation led to more optimized UV-C effectiveness in HVAC systems.

Today UV-C is an accepted and respected solution for any business or individual looking to improve indoor air quality. Discoveries are being made constantly and the technology being used is regularly being improved.

UV Defense is on the leading edge of technology with the use of our next-generation LED Ultraviolet technology in our products. It continues to deliver all of the benefits of UV-C – only better, cleaner, and greener.

Learn more about how you can apply this technology in your life at:

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