Upstate hospitals test UV-light sanitizing wands - WFXG FOX54 Augusta - Your News One Hour Earlier

Upstate hospitals test UV-light sanitizing wands

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The products are tested at Bon Secours St. Francis. (File/FOX Carolina) The products are tested at Bon Secours St. Francis. (File/FOX Carolina)
The products are tested at Bon Secours St. Francis. (File/FOX Carolina) The products are tested at Bon Secours St. Francis. (File/FOX Carolina)
The products are tested at Bon Secours St. Francis. (File/FOX Carolina) The products are tested at Bon Secours St. Francis. (File/FOX Carolina)
The products are tested at Bon Secours St. Francis. (File/FOX Carolina) The products are tested at Bon Secours St. Francis. (File/FOX Carolina)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

Has cleaning house just gotten much simpler?

The makers of new "disinfecting wand" technologies claim to wipe out germs in just seconds using UV light.

People can find them on Amazon.com or in Sky Mall magazines for between $50 and $100. The question remains as to whether they work.

FOX Carolina took the Zadro Health Solutions, Nano UV Disinfection Light Scanner and the Germ Guardian's UV-C Sanitizer Wand to Bon Secours St. Francis Hospital to be tested by the Department of Infection Prevention and Patient Safety.

Michelle Bushey and Pat Kopp are infection preventionists with a machine that tests for germs. For the process, they swabbed an object, like a cell phone or the office coffee maker. The swab plus the liquid in a tube mixes together and it's inserted into a luminometer, which then will read the number of germs present.

Kopp said that anything above 70 is considered dirty in a hospital setting.

The cell phone read 432 at first. After Bushey waved the Germ Guardian UV-C Sanitizer Wand over the phone as directed, another germ test announced that germs remained in the 400 range.

Once the phone was wiped with sanitizing wipes, the luminometer read just four. Both Bushey and Kopp had anticipated this reading.

"What we know about UV light is that you really have to clean the surface first and remove that bacteria, and then it'll kill whatever cells are left, but you really have to lessen the bio burden by physically removing the germs first," said Kopp.

The two tested the second wand, the Nano UV Disinfection Light Scanner, on the office Keurig coffee maker. Its first germ reading landed at 161, which is above the hospital's "dirty" rating. After a UV light scan, the number was 144 - again, higher than 70.

Bushey said that UV light isn't a regular practice at St. Francis Hospital. She said that bleach is what's used on every patient's room when they're discharged.

It was when the objects swabbed were wiped with alcohol wipes that the luminometer read a clean bill.

"It's a real story for the power of disinfecting. Cleaning with hydrogen peroxide wipes, or alcohol wipes or bleach wipes, ammonia wipes, it's a real story for the effectiveness of disinfecting," said Bushey.

When hospitals do use UV light to disinfect, Bushey explained, they would clean the surfaces first. UV would be an extra step.

Bushey said that a machine powerful enough to sanitize a hospital room could cost up to $200,000, and since she said they haven't been proven effective, the hospital isn't looking to invest.

"How much less expensive is a gallon of bleach and how much more effective is a gallon of bleach?" Bushey asked.

Kopp and Bushey think that the wands are a great idea, but not quite "there" yet.

While the two didn't find the wands effective with their germ counter, some reviews online raved about them.

One user said the Germ Guardian wand got rid of a mold smell in his freezer and another said she could smell it burning away germs when she used it at a hotel on vacation.

If people try them, though, Kopp and Bushey warn to be sure to follow safety instructions because the UV light can be damaging to skin or eyes if they're exposed.

FOX Carolina did reach out to both germ wand makers.

Germ Guardian explained, "There are volumes of published professional test data showing how UV-C light kills germs." They said that without having seen the tests done by the infection preventionists, they could not comment.

In an email response, Zadro said that their Nano-UV Light Scanner was developed during the SARS epidemic and uses nano particles in the UV bulb to create a more efficient and effective germicidal light. 

According to Vice President Becky Zadro, "A number of independent laboratories have tested the effectiveness of the Nano-UV™ disinfectant wand. In 2010, the FDA reviewed the Nano-UV test reports. In addition, in 2012, the Better Business Bureau also reviewed the Nano-UV test reports. Both agencies allowed our claims which state that the Nano-UV wand 'safely kills 99.9 percent of targeted germs on surfaces within 10 seconds.'"

She did not comment on the findings from Bon Secours without fully understanding their testing procedures. 

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