DOH warns public against improper use of UV light for disinfection

The Department of Health on Wednesday, September 16, reminded the public to take caution while using ultraviolet (UV) light for disinfection purposes.

Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said that while hospitals have been using UV light for disinfection procedures for sometime, there was not enough evidence to support UV light as an effective agent against eliminating the coronavirus. 

UV light also has potential harmful effects she said, as its improper use may cause skin burns and eye irritation.

[The UV light has] been a known disinfection procedure for so long. Sa ospital 'yan ginagamit, wala pang SARS-COV-2. It’s done in a proper manner at alam nila kung paano gamitin, at ang tamang dose sa [paggamit](It has been used in the hospital even before SARS-COV-2. It’s done in a proper manner and they know how to use it with the proper doses),” she said.

“If used, there should be evidence and guidance,” the health official added in Filipino.

Vergeire reminded the public to disinfect items before they bring it inside their homes. She recommended the direct wiping of surfaces with disinfectant, and discouraged spraying as this could cause the virus to be dispersed further.

The World Health Organization also said that UV lamps should not be used to disinfect hands or other areas of the skin. The most effective way of disinfecting hands is through washing with soap and water, or using an alcohol-based sanitizer.

Some companies have come up with UV light sterilizers, and some are easily accessible to buy online.

As of September 15, the Philippines has confirmed 269,407 cases of COVID-19, 57,392 of which are active cases. 207,352 have recovered, while 4,663 have died. –

Michelle Abad

Michelle Abad is a researcher-writer at Rappler. Possessing the heart and soul of a feminist, she is working on specializing in women's issues in Newsbreak, Rappler's investigative arm.