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The term ‘UV rays’ is tainted with negativity. It is well known that prolonged exposure to them from the sun can cause health issues.
As such, it only makes sense that there are some who are skeptical about treating their water with UV rays to make it safe to drink.
So are UV water purifiers actually dangerous? Is UV-treated water harming us? Let’s find out.
A UV water purifier works by exposing bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens in water to UV-C light. UV light inactivates the DNA of the microorganisms, so they are no longer able to replicate and cause illness.
And that’s all! So far, there is zero scientific evidence that a UV water purifier can be harmful.
It is not recommended to look directly at the UV-C lamp in the purifying unit, as it can be dangerous to the naked eye. However, the UV lamp itself is encased in a chamber, where the water flows through exposing it to the UV rays. The UV lamp cannot be seen in the chamber, so you are not able to expose your eyes or skin to the rays of the lamp. Water is the only thing that will be affected by UV-C exposure unless you touch or look at the UV bulb while it is on.
UV treatment does not make water unsafe for human consumption. In fact, considering it can kill microorganisms that cannot be seen, it is considerably safer than drinking non-UV-treated water.
It does not use harmful chemicals to disinfect, such as chlorine. It is actually more effective than chlorine treatment as it attacks protozoa, which chlorine is not able to remove. A UV water purifier is also much easier to maintain than chemical treatment options, and safer to use.
The only time in which UV-treated water could be dangerous is if the disinfection process is carried out improperly and not all the microorganisms in the water are killed. This has nothing to do with the safety of the UV treatment at all, but rather the quality of the water it needs to disinfect, and the functionality of the unit itself.
With proper care, maintenance, and relevant pre-filters, UV-treated water is extremely safe. When used in optimal conditions, a UV water purifier can kill 99.9999% of harmful pathogens in your water supply.
Simply put, UV water purifiers are unsafe to use in murky waters or water with particulate. When there is high turbidity in the water, the UV light cannot effectively penetrate it to reach all the microorganisms, and they may not be effectively killed. In these cases, you need a pre-filtration system.
Another scenario when UV treated water could be dangerous is when it contains contaminants aside from microorganisms – think PFAS or lead – that cannot be eliminated by the UV disinfection process.
Of course, this is not about the UV treatment itself but still something to keep in mind.
If you have any questions about UV treated water dangers please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
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