COVID-19: UV lamps and sticks pose risks to skin and eyes

Health Canada is calling on Canadians to be cautious about making “misleading” and “unproven” claims about the disinfecting properties of ultraviolet (UV) lamps and sticks.

• Read also: All developments in the COVID-19 pandemic

According to the ministry, their use in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic presents risks, especially for the skin and eyes.

In particular, advertisements have encouraged Canadians to use UV lamps and sticks to disinfect their cell phones, key rings and wallets.

The authorities have also demanded that the dissemination of these “illegal” advertisements cease immediately.

“To date, Health Canada has not received any evidence to support these claims” affecting their ability to disinfect household items and aimed at countering the virus, it was said Wednesday, in a statement.

Canadians are recommended to stop using them “immediately”, recalling that the sale and advertising of health products “for which false or misleading indications are provided are illegal”.

The warning applies to ultraviolet C (UVC) products. “UVCs are an extremely dangerous form of UV radiation and, although they can destroy some germs on non-porous surfaces, they would cause injury if applied to the skin,” Health Canada said, recalling that the World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned of the risks associated with these ultraviolet products.

To protect against COVID-19, Health Canada recommends frequent cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and items. You should also wash your hands regularly, practice physical distancing and wear a mask in closed public places.

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