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Never Use This One Product to Disinfect Your Home, FDA Warns

It could be putting your health and safety at risk, the authority cautions.

Cleaning has been a hot topic throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early days of the pandemic, many people were wiping down their groceries before bringing them inside, removing their clothes at the front door to wash them upon returning home, and stocking up on disinfectants to fend off the virus on high-contact surfaces throughout their homes.

While it may still be in your best interest to adhere to some of the cleaning and personal hygiene habits you developed when COVID first hit, from regular hand-washing to cleaning frequently touched surfaces, there's one popular cleaning product that could be putting your safety at risk even when used as directed, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Read on to find out if you have this product at home and what to use instead.

RELATED: If You're Not Cleaning This, You're Inviting Spiders to Your Home.

The FDA is warning consumers against using one popular UVC device

white uv light wand on white surface
Shutterstock/Walter Eric Sy

UV disinfecting lights have been a popular pandemic purchase, with the devices promising to kill COVID and other germs in mere seconds without using harsh chemicals.

Unfortunately, the FDA warns that the Safe-T-Lite UV Wand, manufactured by Max-Lux Corporation Limited, could be doing consumers more harm than good. "Do not use the Max-Lux Safe-T-Lite UV Wand. Consider using alternative disinfection methods, such as chemical cleaners to kill germs in the home or similar spaces," the FDA recommends.

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Use of the device could expose you to excessive radiation.

Mature man rubbing his eyes with tiredness

The FDA is warning customers against the use of the Safe-T-Lite UV Wand due to the excessive amount of UVC radiation it may produce.

The authority reports that the device's UVC radiation is "more than 3,000 times stronger than what is recommended by an international group of experts," and is typically held mere inches from the user's body, making it likely that users will be exposed to said radiation.

After only a few seconds of use, individuals using the Safe-T-Lite UV Wand may experience photokeratitis, a condition similar to a sunburn on the eye, which may lead to pain, redness, headache, and, in rare cases, a temporary loss of vision, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology. The device may also cause erythema, a skin condition that can cause pain, itching, redness, swelling, discoloration, or open wounds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Exposure to UVC radiation can cause more serious injuries over time.

Woman experiencing labored breath

In addition to the development of photokeratinitis and erythema, exposure to high levels of radiation emitted by UVC lamps or use of said lamps for an extended period of time can potentially lead to the development of skin cancer or cataracts, the FDA warns in a separate notice.

The authority also notes that some UVC devices can produce ozone, which can cause respiratory distress.

UVC radiation may not be as effective at killing COVID as some consumers expect.

person wearing gloves cleaning kitchen counter
Shutterstock / ESB Professional

While UVC lights may help disinfect surfaces inside your home, they're far from foolproof when it comes to killing viruses and bacteria.

"The effectiveness of UVC lamps in inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus is unknown because there is limited published data about the wavelength, dose, and duration of UVC radiation required to inactivate the SARS-CoV-2 virus," the FDA warns. The authority notes that dust or dirt on a surface may mean that a UV wand makes incomplete contact with the germs it's supposed to kill and that UV wands may not be effective at killing viruses and bacteria on porous surfaces or on the underside of surfaces being exposed to the UV light.

RELATED: You're Inviting Snakes to Your Home If You're Not Cleaning This Up, Experts Say.


Sarah Crow
Sarah Crow is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!, where she focuses on celebrity news and health coverage. Read more
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