Are UVC cabin cleaning systems effective?


I have some concerns that need to be addressed as the aviation industry is being misled by claims of health and safety capabilities that don’t exist. One such significant area is the germ-fighting capabilities of UVC: an area of science I’m most familiar with.

Although the airline industry appears entrenched in employing UVC (Ultraviolet C) solutions, the capabilities of UVC are only as good as when illumination is directed powerfully at a contaminated area. Once the illumination is removed, there is absolutely no lasting impact. Indeed seconds after UVC illumination is removed, the area is immediately open to become contaminated again, and yes – even with COVID (SARS-CoV-2 / variants). There are many other limitations associated with distance, timing, material, etc. that I’ll disregard at the moment, but they all impact the results that are not truthfully submitted to the industry.

There have been no published studies or scientific papers indicating that UVC illumination can clean aircraft for the long-term, or even short-term, and as quickly and inexpensively as companies have claimed. UVC has been used in hospitals with underrepresented results, whereas aviation companies base their claims; however, not factually. A hospital room might have five or six people visit in a 24-hour period and they all must wash their hands before touching anyone or anything; whereas, aircraft could have hundreds of people passing through, with no washed hands. The result? UVC Illumination is totally ineffective.

Also, technology providers fail to mention that traditional clean protocols are followed in hospitals (washdown with alcohol and disinfectants), even after employing UVC illumination. That doesn’t happen in aircraft. There are very significant ailments in hospitals known as Hospital Acquired Infections (HAIs), causing nearly 100,000 deaths each year in the USA, causing a financial burden of nearly $50B – each year. This happens even though UVC technologies are available and proper cleaning protocols take place. This is what I deal with.

I’m not part of the aviation industry. However, I know science, and seeing so many awards handed out as a result of false claims is disheartening – especially when the technologies are not even commercialised.


National Institute of Health Studies indicate: “Twelve eligible efficacy studies were identified together with five safety studies. It was found that UVC irradiation had positive results when used as an adjunct for existing cleaning protocols”. This means that cleaning the room with alcohol and other disinfecting substances continued even after UVC illumination was employed.

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