Ultraviolet-C (UVC) light is a form of radiation characterized by short wavelengths; it’s emitted by the sun but can also come from man-made items like LEDs. It can be harmful to humans, but it can also alter the DNA of pathogens and prevents viruses like coronavirus. Hospitals have been using UVC as a sanitation tool for years, but according to a recent Mashable article, the technology has made its way to face masks.
Companies are integrating UVC into face masks in two ways: cleaning internal filters to keep them effective longer (though it degrades N95s), and cleaning the air you’re about to breathe with UVC light, effectively adding another layer of protection. The latter can be found in the UVMask from Canada-based UM Systems. The company has raised more than $7 million on crowdfunding platforms Indiegogo and Kickstarter. It is the first active UV-C mask that instantly filters pathogens, smoke, pollution, pollen and leaf mulch.