Westron's Safe Reptile Lamp Philosophy
1) SAFE LIGHT - don't transmit light that a healthy environment does not emit (or did not emit even 100 years ago - we all know of the damage the sun causes even today). Good reliable information is available everywhere concerning this. Westron's goal is the engineering of a lamp which unites the best of mercury vapor UV lamp technology & natural sunlight properties minus the dangers similar to a depleted ozone layer, making our lamp the safest lamp possible.
2) A balance between good UV & bad UV is a thin margin, far too thin for any manufacturer to guarantee exact UV transmission numbers, unless the lamp by lamp cost is in the hundreds (even thousands of dollars). We know this as no two mercury vapor lamps made one after another, off any production line anywhere in the world, have read identically (we've been producing them for 30 plus years). It is the nature of the production & components to have variations, caused by many factors. Making a safe product requires a margin to protect within these variables. Unless every lamp is tested at almost impossible costs, there is no way to build & verify that each lamp will be in the safe side of that 'split-hair-wide' margin. Westron designs with this safety margin 'BUILT-IN'.
3) Commercially no perfect method of testing for UV transmission exists. Items like the UVB & UVI meters sold by Solartech are positive steps for checking a product's general output, but, these tools do not give enough information. Light emissions, the specific points on the light spectrum, (potentially the spike-points which potentially cause of photo-kerato-conjunctivitis in certain reptiles) cannot be pinpointed by either of these devices which integrate a commercial grade photocell. This is where lab testing, assuring accurate readings of the full light spectrum are paramount. For years many companies promoted UVB meters as the right way to test, but more recently, UBI meters were introduced as part of the process as well, & then it was discovered that even partnering the information these two meters give, it is still impossible distinguish the bad UV, as these meters can only average all the UV output (good & bad). Westron suggests using both meters, but realize, these tools will only give approximations of light output & do report some amounts of false reading artifacts. Westron's effort in supplying results of independent scientific ab testing, & always offering updates is key to every reptile owner's concerns & awareness.
4) Both solar light, or emulations of that light (UV lamps) cause DNA damage IF the filters don't work as they should (the depleted ozone layer doesn't fully protect from harmful sun rays, as well, the outer glass bulb acting as a safety filter around a mercury vapor or metal halide arc tube light source). We all hear about the damage to the ozone layer & the health risks that has caused, & equally, tanning lamps & artificial light sources can potentially harm skin, etc. Bad light can damage everything in its path. Our goal, was to be certain that the UVB our lamp emits is SAFELY above this threshold in the UVB & UVA range, where needed. In our thinking, stable consistent UVB, delivered safely, is far better than splitting hairs trying to control a potentially dangerous & harmful source. Remember, our goal is to do what the reptile owner cannot do with a small commercial UVB or UV Index meter. If Westron has not built it right, we take it back! That is an untouchable guarantee!
5) Admittedly, we (as all should be), are on a curve of better awareness as to safe practices & self-education regarding new understanding in reptile lighting. As we learn, & as we develop our reptile lighting products, the facts about our design will be made public, supported by independent, unedited spectrums/science provided to us. No other manufacturer does this. We will not chat on forums, offer or respond to hear-say as fact or fiction, & never will a product be promoted with a product 'grading' system. If buying reptile lighting was similar to buying headache medication, would you buy something that said for "BIG" headaches or for "SMALL" headaches. Westron considers YOU, the consumer first. We convey everything we can, so you are informed, & we offer absolute accurate info to you, before you set out to buy lighting products for your reptile. We know you are best served when we provide ACTUAL numbers, REAL data & PROVEN results, not marketing schemes. For information regarding photo-kerato-conjunctivitis please read here: http://www.uvguide.co.uk/phototherapyphosphor-info.htm
6) After extensive study and research, the health and reaction to the spot version of our lamps compared to the older flood, we have yet to hear that reptiles are having any adverse reactions. As a matter of fact, we are hearing quite the opposite, rather positive results and reactions from breeders and hobbyists alike. Over the last year or so, we've expanded distribution to quite a few US zoos, and the response is overwhelmingly good. The theory behind the spot lamp is simply as follows:
If you know the (Canadian) history story regarding scurvy, 100's of years ago, settlers who avoided the outdoors in winter were getting sick due to lack of Vit C in their diet. With all settlers having access to the same diet, for some reason, workers who spent time outdoors remained more healthy, Essentially, they were not letting the sun do what it does for human health (in healthy - NOT over-exposed / over-dosed amounts). Surprisingly, the workers who were forced to stay outdoors (chopping wood and working bundled up in the cold were more 'healthy'. Only 10% of their skin was exposed (face and hands, the rest covered by thick clothes and fur). The idea behind this presents the principle idea that the whole body not necessarily be exposed but that continual 'dosing' is the primary goal (but not over-dosing). Good bones, good diet, aided by our reaction to the sun, is root to healther blood, as we know, blood 'manufacturing' in the human body stats in our bones / marrow. As simplistic as this seems, it is part of the same healthy building block for reptiles.
Carrying this same principle to reptiles and UVB, they virtually never bask on there backs, and the fact that they can 'see' a different light spectrum than the human eye can, they do move in and out of UV light at will, very often as 'needed'. The spot is adequate UVB, more, is essentially giving them an 'averaging' range or area to bask in or near.