Boeing Seeks Patent for UV, Germ-Zapping Lavatory

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Boeing Aircraft has applied for a patent to protect its self-cleaning lavatory prototype that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to kill 99.9 percent of germs in three seconds.

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The UV light disinfects all of the lavatory’s surfaces after each use without harming the lavatory’s user, Boeing stated in a March 3 news release citing its patent concept to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Unlike the UVA or UVB light that are used by tanning beds, said the aircraft manufacturer, the UV light flooding the lavatory is not harmful, except to micro-organisms, because the UV light goes on after the user has left the lavatory.

“We’re trying to alleviate the anxiety we all face when using a restroom,” said Jeanne Yu, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Director of Environmental Performance.

The self-cleaning lavatory also has touchless controls for its devices, which includes a self-deploying toilet seat. A hands free door latch and a vacuum vent system are under study.

“In the prototype,” Yu said, “we position the lights throughout the lavatory so that it floods the touch surfaces like the toilet seat, sink and countertops with the UV light once a person exits the lavatory. This sanitizing even helps eliminate odors.”

Boeing said further tests must be conducted before the UV self-cleaning lavatory can be marketed to the flying industry.

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