Recent pandemic developments have strained the supply of N95 filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs), which protect users from particles and aerosols in the air that they breathe. Technically, they must filter out at least 95% of 0.3 micrometre particles.
Normally these are meant to be single-use devices, and are removed and disposed of in a secure way to prevent infection transmission. However, with supply shortages people are considering or resorting to re-using these FFRs, possibly with some sort of chemical or physical disinfection process. Disinfection processes are never 100% effective, so this is not a great option, but I guess it’s better than having no protection.
One disinfection method that I’m very familiar with is UV-C disinfection, having done research in the area of photochemical processes for several decades. There is published literature available demonstrating reasonable disinfection success for UV when applied to N95 FFRs, so this may be an approach to consider if necessary.
I’m working on an overview of this literature (draft version now available at this link), but I’m happy to consult (pro bono) with health care institutions that are considering UV applications to deal with their situations (firstname.lastname@example.org).
4 thoughts on “N95 Masks and Re-Use”
Bill, I was thinking about this today and wanted to discuss with Marian Boyer at Class 1 and Barry Hunter’s biz. Wondering if they have capacity/ability to do so if required.
I don’t think Class 1 does this anymore, but Barry Hunt’s company does and he has some potential solutions approaches. https://prescientx.com/
Relevant article from Dr. Peter Tsai: https://utrf.tennessee.edu/information-faqs-performance-protection-sterilization-of-masks-against-covid-19/
Thanks, that’s a very useful overview and explanation.