Health Canada is warning Canadians about the risks of using ultraviolet (UV) lights and wands that make unproven claims to disinfect against the COVID-19 virus.
This includes ultraviolet C (UVC) products. According to the federal health regulation ministry, UVC is an extremely dangerous form of UV radiation and, although it can destroy some germs on non-porous surfaces, if used on the skin there is a risk that it can cause harm or injury.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned against the use of UV light to disinfect hands or any other part of the body because of the risk of damage to the skin and eyes.
Health Canada says it is aware of UV lights and wands being advertised for home use (e.g., for disinfecting cell phones, car keys and wallets) with claims that they can protect against COVID-19.
In order to make claims that a UV light or wand can protect against COVID-19, a manufacturer must hold evidence to demonstrate that their product works as claimed.
Health Canada says it has not yet received any evidence to demonstrate that UV lights can protect specifically against COVID-19.
To lower the chance of COVID-19 spreading in your home, Health Canada says you should frequently clean and disinfect high-touch surfaces and items (e.g., light switches, door handles, phones, electronics). The agency has published a list of hard surface disinfectants for use against COVID-19.
At the same time, Health Canada says that selling or advertising health products that make false or misleading claims is illegal.
“Health Canada takes this issue seriously and has directed advertisers of UV lights and wands falsely claiming to disinfect against COVID-19 to immediately stop all illegal advertising, including on websites,” they said in a statement issued Wednesday.
They say they will continue to take action to address non-compliant advertising and regularly update the list of advertising incidents related to COVID-19 to help keep Canadians informed.
Health Canada advises the following:
- If you have purchased a UV light or wand that claims to disinfect against the COVID-19 virus, stop using it, especially if the product is for use on skin. Consult a healthcare professional if you have used these products on the skin and have any concerns.
- UV light products should not be used as a substitute for prevention measures such as frequent hand washing, physical distancing, mask-wearing, and cleaning and disinfecting. The Government of Canada has published a list of hand sanitizers and disinfectants that meet Health Canada’s requirements.
- If you have any information on the potential false or misleading advertising or the sale of these products in Canada, report it.
- Read the information Health Canada has posted on the risks of buying health products that make false or misleading claims to prevent, treat or cure COVID-19.
- Report any side effects to health products to Health Canada.
More information about buying health products safely is available on Health Canada’s website.
For the latest and most up-to-date information on COVID-19, visit Canada.ca/coronavirus.
For authorized medical devices for uses related to COVID-19, visit this page.
For further information:
Public enquiries, (613) 957-2991, 1-866 225-0709, email@example.com