Extreme Exposure to Filtered Far-UVC: A Case Study

Photochem Photobiol. 2021 May;97(3):527-531. doi: 10.1111/php.13385. Epub 2021 Feb 3.


Far-UVC devices are being commercially sold as "safe for humans" for the inactivation of SARS-CoV-2, without supporting human safety data. We felt there was a need for rapid proof-of-concept human self-exposure, to inform future controlled research and promote informed discussion. A Fitzpatrick Skin Type II individual exposed their inner forearms to large radiant exposures from a filtered Krypton-Chloride (KrCl) far-UVC system (SafeZoneUVC, Ushio Inc., Tokyo, Japan) with peak emission at 222 nm. No visible skin changes were observed at 1500 mJ cm-2 ; whereas, skin yellowing that appeared immediately and resolved within 24 h occurred with a 6000 mJ cm-2 exposure. No erythema was observed at any time point with exposures up to 18 000 mJ cm-2 . These results combined with Monte Carlo Radiative Transfer computer modeling suggest that filtering longer ultraviolet wavelengths is critical for the human skin safety of far-UVC devices. This work also contributes to growing arguments for the exploration of exposure limit expansion, which would subsequently enable faster inactivation of viruses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Radiation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Radiation Exposure / adverse effects*
  • SARS-CoV-2 / radiation effects
  • Skin / radiation effects*
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*