8. Ultraviolet sticks can pose a radiation hazard, FDA warns

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns consumers against purchasing eight UV sticks used for disinfection due to high levels of radiation that can cause injury. The agency said on Wednesday.

Some of the UV sticks are claimed to deliver up to 3,000 times the recommended amount of UV C exposure, according to the FDA. Eight products:

  • Safe T Lite by Max-lux Corporation

  • OttLite Battery UV Disinfection Wall Model UV10002M by OttLite Technologies

  • FLIP UVILIZER, model SG-153 from In My Bath LLC.

  • Portable wand sterilizer with UV light, also from In My Bath

  • PURPLEGLOW ultraviolet sterilizer from Vanelc

  • Sharper Image Portable UV Disinfection Wall, model 101362 from MerchSource LLC.

  • SurfaceSoap UV by PhoneSoap LLC

  • Magic UV Light Sanitizer by Magic UV Light Sanitizer

The FDA has stated that using or approaching the products can cause erythema, a scalded skin reaction, or photokeratitis, eye damage that can cause severe pain after just a few seconds of exposure. The agency noted that the products also lacked proper safety information.

“When a product is advertised that disinfects in seconds, it likely means that it is emitting unsafe levels of UV radiation,” the agency wrote. “The FDA recommends that consumers do not use these products and consider using safer alternative methods.”

The agency said the FDA had sent defect warning letters to manufacturers of the product and planned to work with companies to “ensure adequate corrective action.”

Rochelle Torque, a spokesperson for PhoneSoap, said the UV wall in question has gone through rigorous safety testing, as well as hand guards and “other features” to help prevent unsafe UV exposure.

“Phonesoap takes these concerns very seriously and is actively working with the FDA to explore solutions,” Ms said. Torke wrote in a statement. “After 10 years of leadership in UV technology, we consistently put safety first in every product we develop. Our UV disinfection wall is no exception.”

Other companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

UV instruments have been used for decades to contain the spread of bacteria, according to the FDA. But amid the coronavirus pandemic, interest in the products soared as people looked for solutions to kill the virus. The UV disinfection industry is projected to grow to $8.3 billion by 2027. Reportlinker.com report earlier this year.

Research shows UV radiation can kill coronavirus but the FDA says more information is needed about how effective it is and how long and how strong the dose should be.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive exposure to ultraviolet radiation can lead to serious health problems, including skin cancer. Skin cancer is the most common type in the United States, with more than 88,000 new cases registered in 2019, latest year for which data are available.