Comparison: Blue light vs. UVC and chemicals

The below table compares blue light and traditional methods like UVC radiation and chemical wiping. In general, Spectral Blue is designed for continuous use, keeping your premises clean 24/7, whereas the traditional methods aim for momentary 4-log reduction. 

Comparison table: Blue light vs. traditional disinfection methods

Spectral Blue™ Ultraviolet light (UVC) Chemical disinfection (alcohol, chlorine, quats)
Efficacy Effective on bacteria, yeast, mold and lipid-enveloped viruses.  Effective against microbes at short ranges. UVC tubes' performance however degrades fast and should be measured often. Good efficacy in laboratory conditions. Real-life performance depends on human effort. In practice, the required contact times are difficult/impossible to reach.
Safety Safe for people, does not require any safety training for staff. Allows continuous disinfection. Hazardous to humans:
  • Skin burns
  • DNA damage
  • Eye injury
  • Risk of cancer
Staff safety training and safety equipment required. Not suitable for continuous use.
Long-term exposure to chemicals / toxic substances can cause:
  • Skin irritation
  • Lung irritation
  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Cancer
  • Allergies
  • And more
Personal protective equipment (PPE) and safety training required. Not suitable for continuous use.
Material compatibility Safe for materials and equipment. Does not degrade plastics or corrode metal. High-energy UV radiation degrades polymers (plastics) and pigments (wall paint, other surface finishes). It can damage delicate laboratory or cleanroom equipment. Chemicals may wear and/or corrode surface materials and damage delicate laboratory or cleanroom equipment.
Environment Safe for environment. Long-lifetime devices do not contain toxic chemicals or substances. UVC tubes contain hazardous mercury, and generate ozone. Materials exposed to UVC can also emit particles in the air. Production and use of chemicals is a burde on the environment. Toxic chemicals can end up in seas and are harmful for sealife and ecosystems.
Antimicrobial resistance Does not promote the development of antimicrobial resistance (see Science section for more information) Has only one pathway of inactivating microbes. Surviving microbes may develop resistance to UVC radiation and can learn to shield themselves from UVC and/or repair the DNA damage.
Typically a chemical has only one pathway of inactivating microbes. Surviving microbes may develop resistance to chemicals and learn to repair damages.
Effect on biofilm Penetrates biofilm well and kills microbes inside it. Does not penetrate biofilm well. Often does not penetrate biofilm, mechanical scrubbing, special chemicals and high concentrations must be used.
Ability to penetrate transparent materials Penetrates transparent glass & plastic, and reflects well from surfaces. Easily absorbed, poor penetration of glass and plastic. -
Lifetime LED-based technology has a long lifetime, up to 50.000 hours. UVC tubes require annual replacement. Mercury-containing old tubes are hazardous waste. UVC LED lifetime is max 10000 hours. Chemicals have varying shelf lives and old chemicals must be disposed of.
Recommended use Recommended for whole room disinfection in cleanrooms, laboratories and healthcare facilities. Also recommended for biosafety cabinets. Cannot be used for disinfecting whole rooms where people work or move. Recommended only for closed spaces such as A/C systems and disinfection cabinets. Currently recommended to be used only where regulation mandates the use of certain chemicals. Reducing the use of chemicals is recommended wherever possible. Cleaning with a detergent and disinfecting with blue light is a modern approach.