CIE Position Statements

The CIE Board of Administration (BA) issues CIE Position Statements in response to significant questions or comments from external parties on matters of strong interest to the CIE.

Below are brief summaries of recent Position Statements along with links to the full statement. For a complete list of available position statements, visit the CIE website.

CIE Position Statement on the use of Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation to Manage the Risk of COVID-19 Transmission

To support international interest in the use of ultraviolet radiation (UVR) to manage the risk of COVID-19 transmission, the CIE has published a Position Statement (PS) that summarizes the two publications listed below. As well, CIE experts have prepared a 10 minute video to support your understanding of the position statement.

CIE 187:2010 UV-C Photocarcinogenesis Risks from Germicidal Lamps
CIE 155:2003 Ultraviolet Air Disinfection

Key take-away points are:

  • UV-C is extremely useful in disinfection of air and surfaces or sterilization of water. However, CIE and WHO warn against the use of UV disinfection lamps to disinfect hands or any other area of skin (WHO, 2020).
  • UV-C can be very hazardous to humans and animals and should only be used in carefully controlled circumstances using well-designed products, ensuring that the limits of exposure are not exceeded. However, the risk of skin cancer from devices that emit only UV-C is considered negligible.
  • UV-C can cause photodegradation of materials and this should be considered where susceptible materials, such as plastics are in the exposed environment. 
  • More research is urgently needed on the safety aspects of novel UV-C sources, especially with respect to safety thresholds to avoid photokeratitis (”sunburn” of the cornea). 
  • For proper UVR assessment and risk management, appropriate UVR measurements are essential.
  • UV-C products aimed at general consumers may not be safe to use or may not be effective for disinfection. 

CIE Position Statement on Non-Visual Effects of Light - Recommending Proper Light at the Proper Time 

For everyone  staying at and working from home in these challenging times, check the CIE recommendations for healthy indoor light conditions and the use of proper light at the proper time to optimally benefit from light’s non-visual effects on sleep, health and wellbeing.

CIE Position Statement on the Blue Light Hazard

This position statement puts into context the use of the term “blue light hazard” in line with the CIE’s current position on this term. It provides reassurance that people are normally not at risk of exceeding the internationally agreed blue light hazard exposure limits from white light sources used for illumination. However, it does warn about the inappropriate use of blue LEDs in products, such as toys, which are primarily used by young children.