8 Ultraviolet Wands Could Pose Danger of Radiation Injury, F.D.A. Warns

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is warning consumers against purchasing eight ultraviolet wands used for disinfection because of high levels of radiation that could cause injuries, the agency said on Wednesday.

Some of the UV wands are said to have as much as 3,000 times the recommended amount of exposure to ultraviolet-C radiation, the F.D.A. said. The eight products are:

  • Safe T Lite from Max-lux Corporation

  • OttLite Rechargeable UVC Disinfecting wand, model UV10002M, from OttLite Technologies

  • UVILIZER FLIP, model SG-153 from In My Bathroom LLC.

  • Portable UV Light Wand Sterilizer, also from In My Bathroom

  • Ultraviolet Sterilamp PURPLEGLOW from Vanelc

  • Sharper Image UV Sanitizing Portable Wand, model 101362 from MerchSource LLC

  • SurfaceSoap UV from PhoneSoap LLC

  • Magic UV Light Sanitizer from Magic UV Light Sanitizer

Using the products or coming near them might cause erythema, a burn-like skin reaction, or photokeratitis, an eye injury that can cause severe pain, after just a few seconds of exposure, the F.D.A. said. The products also lacked the proper safety information, the agency noted.

“When a product is advertised to disinfect in seconds, it likely means that it gives off an unsafe level of UV-C radiation,” the agency wrote. “The F.D.A. recommends that consumers do not use these products and consider using safer alternative methods.”

The F.D.A. sent letters to the product’s manufacturers warning them about the defect, the agency said, and it planned to work with the companies to “ensure adequate corrective actions.”

Rochelle Torke, a spokeswoman for PhoneSoap, said the UV wand in question has undergone rigorous safety testing and also has a hand guard and “other features” that help prevent unsafe exposure to UV-C light.

“Phonesoap takes these concerns very seriously and is actively engaged with F.D.A. to explore resolutions,” Ms. Torke wrote in a statement. “After 10 years of leadership in UV light technology, we’ve consistently put safety first with every product we’ve designed. Our UV sanitizing wand is no exception.”

The other companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Ultraviolet tools have been used for decades to help curb the spread of bacteria, the F.D.A. said. But amid the coronavirus pandemic, interest grew in the products as people searched for solutions to kill the virus. The ultraviolent disinfection industry is projected to grow to $8.3 billion by 2027, according to a report by Reportlinker.com earlier this year.

Research shows that UV radiation can kill the coronavirus but the F.D.A. says more information is needed about how effective it is and how long and how strong the dose should be.

Overexposure to UV radiation can lead to serious health issues, including skin cancer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Skin cancer is the most common type in the United States, with more than 88,000 new cases reported in 2019, the latest year for which data is available.