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Philip Perkins

UV phone sanitizer boxes etc for TX etc?

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I saw this https://www.amazon.com/HoMedics-UV-Clean-Sanitizer-Multi-Use-Functionality/dp/B081PC6ZDQ  .   It claims to sanitize a phone in 1 min.  It seems like similar sized things like TX, IFBs, lavs, TX boxes would fit also.  They aren't cheap ($100) but not super expensive, and small enough to go in a kit.  Of course, like all these devices, one has no way of knowing if it is doing anything at all....  Waste of $?   There are some gotchas apparently, like it can only work off its own battery, which has to be recharged via USB.

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Maybe? Here's something that Lectro posted last week:

 

====

A Word About UV Disinfection

Many of you have asked us about UV light for disinfection, and we haven’t tested any UV methods thoroughly enough to recommend them at this time. Our Service Department is presently testing options, and we will share our findings when they are available.

====

 

I posted that and another relevant link in this JWS link right here.

 

So I'm still waiting for some confirmation about the efficacy of these little UVC doodads...

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I ask because some folks are making much bigger homemade rigs that have larger AC powered lights, https://tinyurl.com/y6uvxt7p

and the people behind that box claim 20 min. is needed for an object to be sanitized.  The HoMedics says 1 min in its box?  Off a battery?

In that there is no good way of knowing how clean an object is after sanitizing, are either of these things a good idea?  Or would you also have to use liquid sanitizer anyhow, for peace of mind?

 

 

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I’m going to stick to soap and water for lav cables, and alcohol wipes/spray for the rest. 
Theres too much speculation about uv-c at the moment to know how it’ll work on Covid-19.

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The effectiveness of UVC light on Coronavirus has not been shown yet, but it has on several other viruses like Influenza. All experts seem to be agreed that UVC will kill (or rather deactivate) the virus. 
I have spent quite a bit of time researching this and especially these phone boxes. 
I bought one from a company called 59s also for around $100. It claims to kill 99.99% of all bacteria and viruses in that box. While they don’t mention anywhere the dosage emitted by the box, they did include a test certificate from a well known certifying company, called SGS, an independent certifier. I sent them a copy of the certificate and they confirmed that it’s not a fake. The father of a friend if mine used to work at SGS so I‘m pretty confident the company and their certificate are legit. 
 

Said friend also got a few dosage meter (if that is the correct term), which come in the form of stickers. You can put them inside the box and they will change their color according to the dosage of UVC they received. This has shown that my particular box managed a dose of 25mj/cm2 after three minutes, and the coverage inside the box is pretty good. General consensus seems to be that 18mj/cm2 will be enough to deactivate the Coronavirus. So I am pretty confident that this particular box will work as advertised. 
When you put a transmitter inside you would have to turn it over after the first cycle, to cover front and back. But the good thing with these boxes is that you can do something else while it’s working away and you won’t need to breathe alcoholic fumes and drive your car afterwards. Downside is we don’t know yet the damage this will do to some of our gear. I know that Lectro and Schoeps are investigating this, but I‘ve not heard from DPA. 

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If everyone for years had been using UV boxes for sanitation, this thread would be about these new fangled packaged  chemicals called "wipes" that used a recently discovered ingredient "alcohol" that were portable, quick, low cost, and effective.

Curmudgeonly,

Larry F

 

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5 minutes ago, LarryF said:

The industry standard UV boxes would then end up collecting dust since no one could guarantee they actually worked in the field.


If I may just pick up on that, no one can guarantee that alcohol will work in the field, either. Yes, we know that alcohol will destroy the virus (or at least I believe we do), but it needs to be correctly applied, and left to dry for a few minutes. I know that a lot of people don’t know about the latter and wipe down their gear with alcohol and then babywipes or whatever straight after in an effort to save their lav cable. But that will dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the alcohol. 
In both cases it’s impossible to actually know if we achieved our goal

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8 minutes ago, Constantin said:

but I‘ve not heard from DPA. 

Let us know your findings about this. I have a feuture in July if things go as planned. Soap and water is the battle plan now, been looking at the UV boxes, but became a bit sceptical after the reports from Schoeps. 70% alcohol wipes is a good way to shorten the life on lavs for sure.

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I already know what happens to lavs and other cables with repeated alcohol use, and in my case there isn't really anyone to charge for them breaking down over time this way.  I also know what happens to plastics left out in the sun for a long time.  Is there a 3rd way, besides a combo of alcohol followed w/ soap and water?  There is also a client perception factor involved, and the commercial UV boxes are a very  showy way to say you care....

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3 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

I also know what happens to plastics left out in the sun for a long time. 


If I may just add a tiny detail here I learned during my research: once sunlight reaches the earth there is only UVA and UVB. UVC gets pretty much completely blocked by the ozone layer. So we don’t necessarily know for sure what happens with plastics and UVC, although there is of course some research and it finds that some plastic compounds are better than others at dealing with UVC light. 
 

Larger UVC boxes often work with mercury lamps instead if LED, which the phone boxes use. A side effect of mercury is that it can produce ozone which escapes from the box after cleaning. It’s a potential health issue and bad for the environment, but ozone will also help with the sterilizing and will creep into all openings and crevices. There are also sterilzing boxes that inly use ozone. It also has a damaging effect on some materials, but maybe it’s better in the lavs? 
Hard to say with all these possibilities. 
personally, I still think UVC is the best middle ground, but it’s important to keep the dosage as low as possible, to keep damage as small as possible. 
And while lots of people say that UVC damages plastics and other substances, there’s never a timescale mentioned. 

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If I was forced to guess, I'd guess the $100 HoMedics doesn't do the job we need.

 

Here's something from the US National Academies:

=====

Does ultraviolet (UV) light kill the coronavirus?

[snip]

UVC light probably destroys the novel coronavirus, but we need to learn more.

UVC light has been found to destroy viruses and other microbes on surfaces in hospitals. But it is not widely used in hospitals or other health care settings. The U.S. government and the UV technology industry are working to define standards for UV disinfection technologies in healthcare settings.

Most UV sanitizers have not been tested against the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2. But UVC light been shown to destroy related coronaviruses, including the one that causes the disease MERS.

[snip]

UVC wands, pouches, and lamps are also sold for home use—for example, disinfecting your cell phone. However, the safety and effectiveness of these products is not known. Beware of false claims that say these products are effective or are for use on humans.

=====

Complete post, with links, etc, here: https://sites.nationalacademies.org/BasedOnScience/covid-19-does-ultraviolet-light-kill-the-coronavirus/index.htm

 

And here's something from the BBC:

=====

Though there hasn’t been any research looking at how UVC affects Covid-19 specifically, studies have shown that it can be used against other coronaviruses, such as Sars. The radiation warps the structure of their genetic material and prevents the viral particles from making more copies of themselves.

However, it's not quite as good as we might have hoped. In a recent study – which looked at whether UVC could be used to disinfect PPE – the authors found that, while it is possible to kill the virus this way, in one experiment it needed the highest exposure out of hundreds of viruses that have been looked at so far. The amount of ultraviolet required varied widely, depending on factors such as the shape and type of material the virus was on.   

=====

The whole article, with a link to the (not-yet peer-reviewed?) study mentioned:

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200327-can-you-kill-coronavirus-with-uv-light

 

Also, I have a memory of reading another article saying that while UVC might be pretty good for killing viruses in air, if you're treating an object/surface, you'd need to rotate the device to make sure every bit of surface (top/bottom, nooks/crannies), gets exposed to the UVC light.

 

So I'm not heading the UVC route yet...

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28 minutes ago, Philip Perkins said:

Is there a 3rd way, besides a combo of alcohol followed w/ soap and water?

I think you can skip alcohol on the cables if you opt for soap and water.

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I usually maintain my lavs very meticulously and therefore seldom have a heavy gunk build up. If this ever happens, i use a little bit of Goo-Gone first and wipe down and later after some time, use a tiny bit of olive oil, leave on for an hour or so and then wipe down... 

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5 hours ago, Mattias Larsen said:

I think you can skip alcohol on the cables if you opt for soap and water.

 

My understanding is that's correct. Soap and water has been said to be the most effective in destroying the virus. 

 

The plan I can think of at this time is to bring clean lavs in individual ziplock bags. After retrieving the mic from each talent after use, they would go back in the ziplock and not be used again until they can be washed with soap and water, wiped/dried with a towel and perhaps air dried (a brief moment in the sun?). Rechargeable batteries.... transmitters.... mic heads... connectors - things that cannot be washed with soap and water would have to be wiped down with alcohol wipes.

After cleaning, everything would have to be put back in a brand new ziplock bags for use the next day.

 

I'm probably gonna be a bit paranoid about bringing home all the gear for cleaning and disposal of used bags.

 

We're gonna have to figure out what the extra charges should be in terms of the extra time and effort, and additional expendables.

 

 

6 hours ago, Jim Feeley said:

UVC light probably destroys the novel coronavirus, but we need to learn more.

[snip]

 

So I'm not heading the UVC route yet...

 

 I'm not 100% convinced either.

 

However, Cannibal Industries (makers of the Super Zuca) posted a video on FB of something they are working on that looks pretty promising:

 

 

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One way would be to get more spare lavs:

 

use set A on monday, put it in save storage and use a completely different set B on tuesday, set C on wednesday. Then on thursday Set A again, etc.

(Store the lavs in a way they can dry while in storage)
 

you‘d need 2-3 times as many lavs as normal which is a significant investment, but on the other hand you should be good for a few years afterwards, and it‘s probably cheaper then destroying the cable with alcohol.

 

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23 minutes ago, chrismedr said:

One way would be to get more spare lavs:

 

use set A on monday, put it in save storage and use a completely different set B on tuesday, set C on wednesday. Then on thursday Set A again, etc.

(Store the lavs in a way they can dry while in storage)
 

you‘d need 2-3 times as many lavs as normal which is a significant investment, but on the other hand you should be good for a few years afterwards, and it‘s probably cheaper then destroying the cable with alcohol.

 


That‘s true, and i have thought about going this route. However, I heard that the recommended time for letting the virus die on objects is 72 hours. So I‘d need a fourth set. I regularly need 7-10 lavs per day. Even if I can assign maybe four to the main talent who will get their same mic every time, I would still need about 3-5 per day. That means I would have to buy probably 10-15 mics, depending on the exact situation. That’s some 4-5000€ I need to spend extra. And that will be difficult to get back from production. Whereas it will be very easy to get back (in rental) 100$ for the UV box, or get them to provide alcohol wipes

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18 minutes ago, Constantin said:

. However, I heard that the recommended time for letting the virus die on objects is 72 hours. So I‘d need a fourth set.


well, it‘s hard to know for sure how long you have to wait for objects to be harmless, but so is how much alcohol, soap or UV light you need to be 100% sure.

that said, the one source I personally give a lot of weight, christian drosten, was discussing the 72h number in the NDR podcast, and he said that comes from a study which is not modeled to reality (way higher initial dose) and they didn‘t measure if the virus was infective, only that it was there.

he estimated that on normal surfaces after 8h there will be such a small amount of virus left that it will not be contagious anymore, so personally I‘d feel safe with 48h - or at least a *lot* safer then with a pocket sized UV box for 1 minute.


but unfortunately we‘ll only know for sure in a few months, at the moment all we can do is trying to reduce risk

 

18 minutes ago, Constantin said:

That means I would have to buy probably 10-15 mics, depending on the exact situation. That’s some 4-5000€ I need to spend extra. And that will be difficult to get back from production. Whereas it will be very easy to get back (in rental) 100$ for the UV box, or get them to provide alcohol wipes

 

yeah, it's a lot of money in times with little income.

but to me getting cheap wipes for free which destroys the lavs sound more expensive in the long run.

 

 

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Even doubling the number of lav mics (and TX?), let alone quadrupling that number is not going to happen for me in these times.  Cleaning of some kind will have to do.  PSMs on big shows should try to get the production to buy extra lav mics, maybe studios etc will start to have a pool of their own that they sanitize between movies.  For everyone else there will have to be some kind of convo about extra labor and wear and tear which will be taking place in an atmosphere of depressed budgets and rates.

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I did some research looking at UV lights for my surgery center, here is what I learned.  While UV C probably would kill Covid-19 effectively, it has to be directly exposed on the item and not in any shadows.  That obviously poses some limitations.  More importantly, while UV-C lights that are in "fluorescent" type tubes are the real deal (200-280nm), many of the supposed LED UV lights are fakes from China, and do not have germicidal effect, not saying that was what is in the box mentioned, but they are LED type bulbs.  The fluorescent type tubes are very hard on skin and eyes, and degrade some materials rather quickly.  There are some UV LED's but quite expensive.  There is a new wavelength of 222nm that is made by Ushio (also fluorescent type) and will be available in products at some point which is skin and eye safe.  I think wipes, with something like Cavicide are the best option for cleaning surfaces, or regular Clorox wipes.

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I read that too, which is kind of good news.  But for those of us who will be in direct contact with clients and particularly with those clients' customers, friends or interview subjects that they have cultivated and are doing them a favor by being interviewed, a bit of "tech theatre" might be helpful.  Like they see you zap lavs+TX with a competent-looking box and then feel better about the whole situation, even though you probably also sanitized with wipes etc...

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1 hour ago, Philip Perkins said:

I read that too, which is kind of good news.  But for those of us who will be in direct contact with clients and particularly with those clients' customers, friends or interview subjects that they have cultivated and are doing them a favor by being interviewed, a bit of "tech theatre" might be helpful.  Like they see you zap lavs+TX with a competent-looking box and then feel better about the whole situation, even though you probably also sanitized with wipes etc...

A bit of "tech theater" seems very appropriate

LEF.

 

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3 hours ago, LarryF said:

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now says the coronavirus “does not spread easily” through touching surfaces or objects.

 

This is covered in the NY Post article, but just so it's handy:

=====

The virus does not spread easily in other ways

COVID-19 is a new disease and we are still learning about how it spreads. It may be possible for COVID-19 to spread in other ways, but these are not thought to be the main ways the virus spreads.

From touching surfaces or objects. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes. This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.

=====

 

Lots of equivocating, which is reasonable. "Not thought to be the main way" seems rather imprecise. Sure, they don't know yet, and I'm not trying to spread FUD, but the wording leaves room for lots of spreading. Still, this is heading towards good news.

 

Me personally, I don't know about the benefit of the UVC Theater. I get the goal, but if someone knows the limits and challenges of cheap UVC devices, they might become less reassured. Just typing out loud here. Like all of us, trying to think this through. (Also, my perspective is shaped by the film I'm working on——well, was working on before the shelter-in-place——where I've been hanging with homeless and minimally-housed people, public-health officials, and medical professionals. So the risk/knowledge/freakout balance is uncommon).

 

But an interesting thought about that CDC statement isn't us our our equipment infecting talent, but them potentially infecting us. We can wear gloves, use wipes, perform UVC Magic, or whatever. But if they've been wearing a tx and lav for several hours, especially several sweaty breathy hours, we may be the ones at risk (however slight that risk might be). So careful proceedures really do matter.

 

And thanks everyone for sharing your knowledge and thoughts on this. Truly helpful!

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Tech theater is absolutely appropriate. 

 

I work at a local radio station which is part of national public radio so there's a huge organization behind. The main company has written rules about how we should manage our equipment. Alcohol wipes and other wipes, personal microphones and windscreens etc etc, even though our own science dept and in house doctor has come to the same conclusions as this report. 

 

For us, the "charade" is just to make sure that we don't get negative publicity (public radio in Sweden has a very important mission to inform the public, obviously). I would make the comparison with mouth protection ; in Sweden, mouth protection is considered useless for the public but essential to hospitals and people working in elderly homes and so forth. Whereas in other countries it's considered essential to everyone... I'm biased, but to me mouth protection isn't protecting anyone, it's a charade as well. (Whole other discussion, just making a comparison with tech theater)

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