If you use an ultraviolet wand to disinfect and kill germs — or are thinking about it — be aware that certain brands may produce unsafe levels of radiation and should not be used.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a safety communication warning consumers that certain UV wands may cause injury to the skin, eyes, or both after a few seconds of use. The safety communication lists the brands that should not be used, details the FDA’s actions, and provides recommendations for consumers.
About UVC Radiation, UV Wands and FDA Testing
Ultraviolet-C (UV-C) radiation is a type of radiation. UV-C radiation is a known disinfectant for air, water, and nonporous surfaces.
The FDA tested samples of UV wands from multiple manufacturers that are marketing the wands to consumers to disinfect and kill germs in the home or other spaces generally outside a health care setting.
The FDA testing found that these products give off unsafe levels of UV-C radiation. When a product is advertised to disinfect in seconds, it likely means that it gives off an unsafe level of UV-C radiation. The FDA also identified some common features among the products tested, such as lack of safety information, claims to disinfect in seconds, and the lack of any safety features to protect users.
The FDA advises consumers not to use the UV wands listed in the safety communication and consider using safer methods, such as chemical cleaners. It’s important to note the UV wands listed in the safety communication may have been labeled with additional names, so it’s possible you could have a potentially dangerous wand that’s not specifically noted on the list. Also, if you have or see a UV wand that doesn’t have safety instructions or information on its risks and the radiation it gives off, then the FDA advises that you don’t use it and consider using alternative safer methods.