Two Toronto Women Have Helped Develop A Machine That Will Use Uv Light To Sanitize At The Checkout

Posted: May 25, 2020

Two Toronto women are behind an idea to use ultraviolet light to sanitize groceries at the checkout counter and the duo already have interest from two major grocery chains in Ontario.

Alyssa Mincer said she thought of the idea six weeks ago when she was wiping down groceries for her sister, who was pregnant and has since given birth.

“We were very concerned about her having her baby during COVID,” said Mincer. “And as a family we decided to implement a set of rules that everybody would follow and everyone would work together to keep this newborn safe.

“Part of this was wiping down groceries with Lysol wipes, which is very stressful and tedious,” she said, “and actually gave me a lot of anxiety because I didn’t know if I was doing it right.”

Mincer, 29, had read an ad for cleaning cellphones using UV light and she called her friend — and soon-to-be business partner — Dara Gallinger to float an idea using the same technology to inactivate the coronavirus on groceries.

At the point when Mincer called, Gallinger was considering her future options and thought she might make a move into private equity. When she heard Mincer’s idea, though, “it sounded like the exact thing we should be doing now.”

Within days, the two women had partnered with a small Cambridge company — Prescientx — which is developing UV machines to sanitize N95 masks so they can be reused instead of being thrown out after each use.

Evidence shows the type of light used in the machine, called UV-C, disrupts the ability of DNA and RNA in viruses — including COVID-19 — to replicate, says Bill Anderson, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Waterloo, which means the virus can’t reproduce in the human body and cause harm.

By Patty Winsa 
May 24, 2020
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