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WHAT IS UV RADIATION?

Within the light spectrum, ultraviolet light waves occupy the 0 nm to 400 nm range. The term nm stands for nanometers, or billionths of a meter. This range is optically invisible to the human eye. The 0 to 400 nm spectrum is divided into 4 levels1, and they are defined as:

  • UV-A (long-wave; 400 to 315 nm): the most abundant in sunlight, responsible for skin tanning and wrinkles.

  • UV-B (medium-wave; 315 to 280 nm): primarily responsible for skin reddening and skin cancer.

  • UV-C (short-wave; 280 to 200 nm): the most effective wavelengths for germicidal control.

  • UV under 200 nm (vacuum UV; 0 to 200 nm): radiation below 200 nm can produce ozone (O3) in air.

It is the UV-C section of the spectrum that has germicidal properties, with 253.7 nm being the ideal frequency level at which DNA absorbs the most UV light.