Ultraviolet Light Safety
- ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT (UV): Standard Operating Procedure and Fact Sheet
These devices can be small handheld units, transilluminators, germicidal lamps in biosafety cabinets, or UV lights used in a large room space. The adverse health effects that may occur are erythema (sunburn), photokeratitis (a feeling of sand in the eyes), skin cancer, melanoma, cataracts, and retinal burns. These devices should always be used with caution, with special protection given to the eyes and skin. If you have any of these devices, please contact our office. We can supply a label to remind the operator to use protective gear or discuss the use of face shields.
ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION EXPOSURE FROM TRANSILLUMINATORS A transilluminator is a box containing a UV light source and is used for viewing gels.Transilluminators can emit various wavelengths of UV radiation. Some of the lower wavelengths, such as those in the 254 nm range, can cause more serious damage to the skin and eyes. The transilluminator is equipped with a plastic shield that folds down over the viewing area. When properly used, the shield absorbs the UV radiation and prevents exposure to anyone in the vicinity of the device. If the shield is not in its proper position, direct exposure to UV radiation is possible. Symptoms of excessive exposure to UV radiation include skin burns, eye irritation and possibly a temporary loss of vision or blurred vision.
As an extra precaution, please make sure that your employees take the following steps:
1). Wear rubber gloves and a long sleeved shirt or laboratory coat to protect your hands and lower portions of your arms from UV light.
2). Full face shields (figure1) must be worn while working with these devices. Make sure that the shield you are using is adequate to block the particular wavelengths of UV light emanating from the equipment. You can find the UV wavelength emitted from your devices in your owner’s manual and if you are ordering a face shield or already have one, check in the catalogue from which it was ordered to determine the UV wavelengths that the shield will block.
3). Make sure the transilluminator is properly labeled with a caution statement. Contact the Radiation Safety Office (777-5269) if labels are needed.
- OTHER SOURCES: Other devices that emit radiation include High Radiofrequency or RF Devices or microwave producing devices. If you have such a unit and have any questions related to their safety, please contact Blanche Holliday