As part of our CheckTheFacts campaign, we want to expose another untruth out there. Mercury levels in UV-C lamps are often discussed in the UV space. Xenex and other UV companies discuss the dangers of high levels of mercury present in UV-C bulbs, but let’s unpack this claim and talk about the facts…

Mercury Lamps in UV-C Technology

Rumors of UV-C lamps containing high-levels of mercury are used as a scare tactic to steer healthcare, infection prevention and environmental service leaders away from using UV-C robots. Xenex and many UV companies claim that UV-C disinfection robots will result in substandard results, along with causing harmful mercury exposure if the bulbs break. 

Mercury vs Xenon Lamps

First, let’s address the subpar results – Xenex claims that the findings of a recent study didn’t apply to their xenon based products because the authors evaluated a UV-C technology that did not use xenon light bulbs. The results of the study concluded, when used daily and at post discharge in addition to standard environmental cleaning, UV-C disinfection did not reduce VRE or C. difficile infection rates in cancer and solid organ transplant units.

However, the type of lamps being used have no bearing on the reduction of infection rates. In fact, in one study by Nerandanzic et. al. the authors reviewed pulsed xenon and determined that it was significantly LESS effective than continuous mercury based UV technology. 

Surfacide’s Mercury UVC Lamps

Second, let’s discuss the mercury levels in our lamps. The composition of our UV-C bulbs is nearly identical to that of standard fluorescent bulbs used in office buildings, healthcare facilities and even some homes, minus the white phosphor coating, and contain less than 15 mg of mercury. To put this into perspective, a common 4’ fluorescent tube used in these everyday places contains between 5-50mg of mercury.

Both the EPA and have published endorsements on the use of these types of bulbs and tout that their use results in an overall decrease in environmental mercury compared to standard bulbs. Surfacide has taken every necessary step to minimize the risk of mercury exposure to operators and patients while maximizing germicidal UV-C output.

The Truth About Mercury UV-C Lamps

If Xenex’s claims were true, the implications would be very dangerous. To put it into perspective, their claim would mean that everyday we would be lighting our homes and offices with candles as fluorescent-based light bulbs would not be safe according to the xenex position.   

Ensuring safety of our UV-C devices and the materials we use to produce Surfacide systems is important to us. We manufacture our UV-C systems in the USA in Waukesha, Wisconsin and deliver our UV-C solutions around the globe. Even with a world-wide presence, Surfacide prioritizes each customer individually to measure their success, address questions and build a long-lasting professional relationship. In fact, Surfacide was recently recognized by KLAS Research in which Klas summarized that 100% of Surfacide clients would contract with Surfacide again.