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Safety with UV Light

A fluorescence microscope is a precision laboratory piece of equipment. As with other items found in a laboratory, it comes with inherent risks and dangers.

All purchasers must understand and accept the hazards of UV light and Mercury bulbs. Your purchase means you understand and accept the risks. While not necessarily inclusive, nor trying to be, we mention some of the risks here.

Fluorescence light sources such as Mercury emit harmful UV light. This includes the shorter wavelengths UV-B and UV-C. The UV-C is produced by the sun but is filtered out in the atmosphere. Humans have no natural protection against it. UV light damages the cornea of the eye as well as damages human skin. The use of safety goggles when working around the equipment is required. The proper safety lens will be marked: ANSI Z87.1-2003. These can be found at local hardware stores or on the Internet for as cheap as $5. The use of long sleeves is also important, as well as the use of gloves when handling the bare bulbs. Mercury bulbs can sometimes explode, especially near the end of their life cycle. They should be replaced at 200 hours. They are always under high pressure, even when cool. That is another reason why safety goggles must be worn. If in doubt, just let us know and we’ll include a pair for free with the microscope.

When turning on a mercury light bulb, it needs to stay on for at least 15 minutes before turning it off. Do not turn it on again for at least 30 minutes, so it has plenty of time to cool down. If a bulb is ever broken, exhaust the area and immediately vacate it for 30 minutes before returning. Dispose of Mercury bulbs properly, in accordance with local regulations.