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FGCU professor answers questions on UV lights as possible solution for COVID-19

Most everybody knows to carry a mask around as you head out in public these days, but are you missing something from your COVID-19 arsenal?

UV light devices have been touted to disinfect items like keys and cell phones, so we took that claim to Florida Gulf Coast University professor, Arsalan Mirjafari, to see if he’d advise using one.

“The answer is no,” Mirjafari said.

There are three types of UV rays, A, B, and C.

UV-A is found in fluorescent lights, UV-B is what gives us a sunburn, and UV-C is what’s used to kill COVID-19, but professor Mirjafari says not only is UV-C light used in cleansers, but he also says it’s dangerous. In fact, the UV-C light in some devices won’t even go on until the box is closed.

“UV-C is very nasty stuff and it’s extremely dangerous to human health. It can potentially cause cancer and cataracts,” said Mirjafari.

The FGCU lab has a UV light chamber. It’s used to run chemical reactions and costs $1,000.

Professor Mirjafari says the equipment is so dangerous, techs have to use $500 goggles when using it.

“We use these glasses because it can protect our eyes and we never look at it even for a second, directly,” Mirjafari said.

His best advice is just to clean and sanitize items that may have germs on them.

“Just a small amount of bleach can kill the coronavirus in a shorter time, close to 10 seconds,” Mirjafari said.

The UV-C light cleanser takes 10 minutes to disinfect your phone, and while you may not think of your cell phone as a surface to clean, some studies show our phones carry 10-times more bacteria than a toilet, so cleaning it and your keys every day will help keep COVID-19 at bay.

Reporter:Kirstin Delgado
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