IUVA and GLA partner to distribute germicidal UV information for global health impact

July 19, 2022
Global associations have improved guidance for public health and UVGI implementation in their sights, taking aim to clarify UV market messaging, set expectations with products and practices, and build a healthy market strategy through standardization.

The International Ultraviolet Association and Global Lighting Association have recently signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on joint activities to promote the safe and effective use of technology for ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, or UVGI.

Revamped in 2012 from the founding membership of the Global Lighting Forum, GLA supports industry cooperation and represents a collective global lighting voice in international policy, regulatory, political, and scientific issues that impact market growth and applications of LED lighting. In May 2020, GLA issued a position statement on the safety of UVGI enabled by UV-C-band devices (typically wavelengths from 100 to 280 nm as defined by ISO Standard ISO-21348, to include both LED and low-pressure mercury sources).

Cross-disciplinary efforts underway for best practices

As LEDs Magazine has reported, several industry special-interest groups and stakeholders had raised concerns about the safety and efficacy claims of products that were flooding the UVGI market during the early wave of the coronavirus pandemic, leading to joint papers on UVGI hazards from the American Lighting Association, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and Underwriters Laboratories, for instance, in addition to an IUVA paper on far-UV (222-nm) radiation for disinfection.

These resources demonstrate the willingness of various market sectors to jointly develop clear recommendations and guidance, further evidenced by the launch of the ANSI/IES/IUVA LM-92-22 Approved Method: Optical and Electrical Measurement of Ultraviolet LEDs this year.

When asked about the roles of both associations with regard to standards, IUVA’s Healthcare/UV Working Group coordinator Troy Cowan said, “IUVA will continue to pursue ANSI standards in the U.S. with U.S.-certified Standards Developing Organizations. Other associations/agencies IUVA is working with include ASHRAE, EPRI, IES, NEMA, and NIST.”

Cowan continued, “GLA, with its global focus, is continuing to prepare global guidelines in this field of technology to support regulators, applicants, and SDOs as well. … These technical documents are intended to support global SDOs, like IEC,” he said, to “ultimately [bring] consistency to UVGI standards worldwide.”

Adobe stock image | Creative Cloud Express

Approaching the market with clear disinfection messaging

Navigating the regulatory landscape can be a particular challenge with international interests in play. IUVA welcomes “positive, constructive dialogue with our federal regulators [Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration] and related agencies (e.g., NIST, CDC, DOE) whenever possible,” said Cowan.

GLA representative Armin Konrad (senior director R&D – global head of standardization, program management R&D and traditional R&D for LEDvance), added, “Via GLA, we continue to try to reach out to global organizations like the WHO, OECD [Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development], and WGBC [World Green Building Council]” to generate discussion and ensure both market interests and public interests are aligned.

Indeed, the associations have already initiated one such communication in a joint letter to the WHO this month. Addressing WHO’s Radiation Programme team leader, Emilie van Deventer, the parties wrote:

“GLA and IUVA are interested in developing a relationship with WHO to explore collaboration on germicidal UV disinfection technology with the aim of developing WHO recommendations as an additional non-pharmaceutical measure for indoor use.”

IUVA and GLA stated in their letter that “Germicidal UV is a mature technology,” “an efficacious disinfectant,” and “safe use of germicidal UV is enabled by existing standards and industry guidelines.” The parties cited existing guidance and support for UGVI via the IEC specification IEC PAS 63313; a National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health publication; IUVA and GLA scientific papers; and WHO’s own guidelines on tuberculosis prevention and control. They requested that WHO consider these key messages in delivering recommendations to national health organizations on the ability of germicidal UV technology to mitigate the spread of airborne diseases.

Roadmap for UVGI collaboration

GLA and IUVA continue to share and disseminate information as it is coordinated. “To foster acceptance in the market and market growth for UV-C disinfection technology, including eligibility for governmental support, a global overview on regulatory requirements, public funding, standards, and application has been published on the GLA webpage and shared with IUVA,” Konrad said.

With regard to future plans, Konrad said the GLA and IUVA are establishing “an expert network to consult and share information in the field of germicidal ultraviolet irradiation, covering new findings by the scientific community and recent developments in applications.”

While IUVA and GLA do not have a partnership with the International Well Building Institute regarding its WELL Building Standard requirements, LEDs would note that as a potential future route to expand healthy building practices and systems implementation in a manner that supports global environmental, energy, and sustainability demands. Konrad concurred, saying, “Proper designed UVGI systems can help to ensure wellbeing in buildings, by clean, disinfected air, and keep comfort with low noise level and comfortable air flow.”

Cowan and Konrad indicated that further initiatives will be revealed in presentations at the next IUVA World Conference, which has not yet been scheduled. You can find the latest resources on UV-C disinfection on the GLA website and IUVA website.

CARRIE MEADOWS is managing editor of LEDs Magazine, with 20 years’ experience in business-to-business publishing across technology markets including solid-state technology manufacturing, fiberoptic communications, machine vision, lasers and photonics, and LEDs and lighting.

For up-to-the-minute LED and SSL updates, follow us on Twitter. You’ll find curated content and commentary, as well as information on industry events, webcasts, and surveys on our LinkedIn page and our Facebook page.

About the Author

Carrie Meadows | Editor-in-Chief, LEDs Magazine

Carrie Meadows has more than 20 years of experience in the publishing and media industry. She worked with the PennWell Technology Group for more than 17 years, having been part of the editorial staff at Solid State Technology, Microlithography World, Lightwave, Portable Design, CleanRooms, Laser Focus World, and Vision Systems Design before the group was acquired by current parent company Endeavor Business Media.

Meadows has received finalist recognition for LEDs Magazine in the FOLIO Eddie Awards, and has volunteered as a judge on several B2B editorial awards committees. She received a BA in English literature from Saint Anselm College, and earned thesis honors in the college's Geisel Library. Without the patience to sit down and write a book of her own, she has gladly undertaken the role of editor for the writings of friends and family.

Meadows enjoys living in the beautiful but sometimes unpredictable four seasons of the New England region, volunteering with an animal shelter, reading (of course), and walking with friends and extended "dog family" in her spare time.