The Solution: How UV Disinfection Works
It has been known since 1877 that ultraviolet (UV) light could damage microorganisms. About 50 years later, scientists discovered that specific frequencies of ultraviolet radiation caused the damage. By the 1950s, researchers knew the UV light penetrated cell walls and disrupted the nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) in microorganisms, preventing cell replication and repair, while causing mutations and the death of these organisms. This led to the development of some commercial applications of UV sterilization using mercury vapor, which produces UV at the appropriate wavelength for disinfection.The use of UV sterilization technology has become widespread in the United States. The EPA has approved UV sterilization of water. UV sterilization devices can currently be found protecting public water sources, air ducts in buildings, food manufacturing systems, pharmaceutical manufacturing facilities, sterile medical device packaging operations, research laboratories, paint curing, manufacturing and in many other settings.
Mercury versus Xenon
Two main systems for creating UV light at the appropriate frequency for sterilization currently exist: continuous mercury vapor UV lamps and pulse xenon UV. Of these two methods, xenon – which Xenex uses exclusively – is by far the most effective. In xenon lamps, the energy of each pulse is substantially greater than that produced by mercury lamps, leading to a much higher microbicidal effect while greatly reducing the total time necessary for sterilization. Further, xenon gas is inert and harmless while mercury gas is highly toxic, leading to health dangers if a mercury bulb is broken.
Continuous versus Pulse
Because of the much lower output, mercury vapor lamps need to be continuously operating to effectively treat water, air or surfaces. Pulse xenon systems generate pulses at such a high energy that only brief amounts of exposure are necessary. This reduces both the total time for disinfection and the power consumption of the device. Pulse xenon UV systems are being installed in municipal water treatment systems.
The Xenex Advantage
Xenex uses a patented technology specifically developed based on how UV disinfection works to disinfect environments in the healthcare setting. The technology is designed to be highly effective, efficient and portable, allowing for the systematic disinfection of any space within a healthcare facility.
Call a Xenex representative at (800) 553-0069 to learn more about our products and services.