New York transportation agency launches pilot UV light program to kill Covid-19

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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said Tuesday night that it would use “150 dual-head mobile devices” from the Denver-based start-up PURO Lighting to determine the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of UVC lighting technology, said the agency in a press release.

UVC, which is one of three types of light on the UV spectrum, has proven to kill Covid-19 and is most powerful against viruses and bacteria, said PURO Lighting. PURO noted that their lamps also contain UVA and UVB for full spectrum disinfection.

The first phase should be launched in the metros and buses and Transit facilities early next week, according to the MTA, and if successful, will expand to Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad trains in a second phase. The two railways serve the New York suburbs.

The lamps will be used during the night stop on subway trains and during periods when public transportation is out of service.

“This is the first pilot project of its kind for transportation agencies around the world and we are proud to be a part of it,” said Patrick Foye, President and CEO of MTA. “For almost three months, the MTA has worked tirelessly to disinfect our entire fleet of subways and buses, but we have always promised to explore all of the new approaches available to us as well. The launch of this UVC pilot represents a next step promise in our ongoing efforts to identify technologies that can ensure the safety of our customers and employees. ”

For the first time in 115 years, New York City deliberately shut down its entire subway system overnight starting May 6 to clean all of its cars.

A doctor will examine the effectiveness of the lamps

MTA touts UVC light as “an effective, proven and effective technology for eliminating viruses, including SARS-CoV-2 which causes COVID-19” and has been shown to kill viruses in rooms operating hospitals, emergency care clinics, universities, and fire stations. The first phase will focus on rolling stock for cars, stations and marshalling areas, according to the MTA, as well as professional facilities, crew rooms and other common areas.

Disinfecting lighting lamps use high intensity full spectrum UV lamps that can be installed on a ceiling or wall, according to a press release from PURO Lighting. The MTA photos show the units mounted on poles in the middle of the car. The unit disinfects surface and airborne pathogens and eliminates up to 99.9% of viruses and bacteria, according to PURO Lighting.

The MTA also noted that the agency had asked Dr. David Brenner, director of the Center for Radiological Research at Columbia University, to review the effectiveness of the lamps. This week, Dr. Brenner reported that his test has shown that UVC light has eliminated Covid-19, and is working on carrying out additional tests for peer publication, said the MTA.

The MTA began working with PURO in mid-March to test the capacity of the lighting technology as part of an effort to find effective cleaning solutions for the metro. The agency also plans to use antimicrobials to disinfect and prevent the virus from growing for longer periods of time. Foye said in an interview with PIX11 on Friday that they are continuing their research on antimicrobials, which is “very promising” and they expect “short-term positive news”.

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