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Do UV Air Purifiers Really Work?

Yes, SOME UV air purifiers really work. Numerous health studies have shown that UV-C light in a specific wavelength and duration very effectively inactivates viruses, bacteria, mold, mildew and fungi by breaking down their DNA or RNA, leaving them unable to perform vital functions or reproduce. UV light also is helpful in prevention of secondary allergies related to airborne allergens. However, not all UV air purifiers are the same, nor are all effective. Many make false or exaggerated claims. RXAir® is one of the few that can back its claims with hard data.

Independent research studies and rigorous testing in EPA- and FDA-certified labs validate that RxAir’s ViraTech ultraviolet germicidal irradiation technology destroys germs, bacteria, viruses, and reduces VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and odors. RxAir disinfects the air and inactivates a wide range of bacterial and viral pathogens as has been conclusively demonstrated in independent laboratory tests.

RxAir has been by Dr. Wladyslaw Kowalski, a leading authority on aerobiological infection control and UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI) who has written numerous papers and books[1] that many consider as the definitive industry guides on the subject.

RxAir is a powerful UV air purifier that destroys more than 99% of airborne bacteria and viruses, such as the flu, (including H1N1), multiple Coronavirus strains (including SARS and the common cold), pneumonia, MRSA, strep, TB, measles and the common cold. RxAir kills bacteria that can make it difficult to sleep, and helps protect those who suffer from respiratory conditions or a weakened immune system by reducing their exposure to harmful pathogens. RxAir effectively reduces odors, indoor pollutants, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

How UV Air Purifiers Work

The four key factors to the effectiveness of UV light at inactivating airborne pathogens in a room are:

  • UV-C Light Exposure Time. The dwell time, or length of exposure, of pathogens to UVGI for approximately a half second causes sufficient damage for inactivation. RxAir is so effective because its 16” high intensity germicidal UV-C lamps and ViraTech kill chamber allow for extended exposure time. RxAir draws contaminants through the kill chamber where the turbulence inside forces contaminants close enough to at least one of the three UV-C lamps long enough for inactivation..
  • UV-C Intensity and Wavelength. The optimal UV-C wavelength for UV germicidal irradiation (UVGI) is 254 nanometers. RxAir employs high intensity UVGI lamps at 254 nm to inactivate or kill the pathogens as they move through the chamber.
  • Proximity to the UV-C light. RxAir’s ViraTech kill chamber is specially designed to keep harmful bacterial and viruses in close contact to the UV-C light for the appropriate duration for inactivation.
  • Air Changes per Hour (ACH). of an air purifier determines how many times the device can exchange the whole volumetric air from a specific sized room in an hour. The more times a device can exchange the air within the room, the cleaner and fresher it will stay. RXAIR can clean a 800 sq. ft. room up to six times in an hour (ACH 6X).

With many UV air purifiers, insufficient UV lamp intensity, proximity and dwell time make pathogen inactivation improbable . For example, a 6″ lamp creates less dwell time and less of a chance for inactivation than a 16″ lamp. The question to ask is how many purifiers have sufficient lamp intensity and keep contaminants close enough and long enough for inactivation.

Conclusion: YES, RxAir and Some UV Air Purifiers Really Work

RXAIR is one of the few UV air purifiers that really does work. Unfortunately there are many dubious UV air purifier products that make exaggerated claims about their ability to kill/inactivate pathogens and the size of the space they can service. Consumer Reports has even warned consumers about companies making unfounded claims.

RxAir has gone through numerous tests in EPA and FDA certified labs and the results support our claims of effectiveness at inactivating 99% of most viruses and bacteria on first pass. For this reason, RxAir’s technology is used in hundreds of hospitals in some of the most sensitive of environments. The powerful UVC light in every RxAir processes the air in an 800 sq. foot room three to six times per hour to help reduce your exposure to pathogens and keep it fresh and safe for you and your loved ones. It is safe to say UV air purifiers work.

UV air purifier myths vs facts

Myth – UV air purifiers cannot kill bacteria and viruses

Fact –The effectiveness of UV light at inactivating viruses and bacteria has been well documented scientifically for decades. In fact, the CDC recommends UV light as a supplemental hospital infectious control method for hospitals on pathogens such as TB[3]. RxAir employs the same technology used in UV air purifiers in hundreds of hospitals to keep you and your loved ones safe from airborne pathogens

Myth – bacteria and viruses aren’t exposed to UV lights long enough to kill them

FactMOST UV air purifiers blow air quickly past UV lights without sufficient exposure time and proximity to inactivate the harmful pathogens. Many also use UV lights that are too weak to be effective. However, RxAir uses a patented chamber that includes a system of baffles to create turbulence that brings the pathogens in close proximity to its three powerful 24-watt UV-C lamps for an extended time, resulting in inactivation of more than 99% of pathogens on first pass and reduction in VOCs and odors.

Myth – UV air purifiers produce harmful ozone

Fact – There are UV air purifiers that produce ozone, but RxAir is NOT one of them. RxAir uses an ozone block that prevent ozone emissions.

Some people confuse ionizer air purifiers with UV air purifiers. RxAir is NOT an ionizer. An ionizing air purifier’s corona discharge produces ozone, a known irritant of the lungs and respiratory system. Many states including California, Minnesota, and Texas have published guidelines on air purifiers that produce ozone.

Myth: HEPA air filters are adequate against bacteria and viruses.

Fact: Many dangerous viruses are smaller than 0.1 micron and can pass through the typical HEPA filter. HEPA filters trap, but do not necessarily kill live pathogens. HEPA filters may accumulate viruses, bacteria and fungal spores over time, exposing the people to a literal petri dish of pathogens and allowing the opportunity for them to be reintroduced to the area during filter changes. HEPA systems also circulate air over live viruses and, if the filter is not sealed tightly, leaks may occur whereby live pathogens could be recirculate into the air.

[1]Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation Handbook: UVGI for Air and Surface Disinfection”
[2]“Aerobiological Engineering Handbook: A Guide to Airborne Disease Control Technologies.”
[3]Public Health Reports. Association of Schools of Public Health, Jan. 2010. Web. 15 June 2015.

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