Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The Arkansas Air National Guard's 189th Airlift Wing plans to install 50 Krypton Light Disinfection UV lights throughout the Little Rock Air Force Base in Arkansas and eventually find ways to use the light sources inside aircraft.
The Pentagon said Thursday it has awarded FAR UV Technologies, a Missouri-based disinfectant technology company with a $1 million contract to initiate the project with the wing, which is the first unit in the Department of Defense to use the system.
The system is part of a set of preventive measures DoD is testing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"This will add an extra layer of protection in addition to our current risk mitigation strategies," Air Force Lt. Col. (Dr.) Thomas DeGraff III said in a statement.
"I see this as increasing exposure time to in-person interactions and decreasing the odds of viral exposure as well as decreasing the risk of infection," said DeGraff, 189th AW senior flight surgeon and member of the Team DUCIMUS Think Tank group. "We don't have the medical peer-reviewed data to back that up 100 percent, but we do know that it kills pathogens and doesn't cause cancer or cataracts in humans."
According to Dr. David Brenner, an independent safety expert from Columbia University Medical Center and subcontractor on the project, the lights use a measure of ultraviolet light -- 222 nanometers -- that can kill large numbers of surface and air pathogens but is still safe for humans.
Traditional UV sanitization systems, such as those used by hospitals to disinfect personal protective equipment, can operate at up to 254 nanometers, which can damage sensitive skin cells.