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Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 19(6)2022 03 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1742435


The current coronavirus pandemic has increased worldwide consumption of individual protective devices. Single-use surgical masks are one of the most used devices to prevent the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Nevertheless, the improper management of such protective equipment threatens our environment with a new form of plastic pollution. With the intention of contributing to a responsible policy of recycling, in the present work, five decontamination methods for used surgical masks that can be easily replicated with common household equipment are described. The decontamination procedures were hot water at 40 °C and 80 °C; autoclave; microwave at 750 W; and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation. After each decontamination procedure, the bacterial load reduction of Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 6538 was recorded to verify the effectiveness of these methods and, moreover, bacterial filtration efficiency and breathability tests were performed to evaluate mask performances. The best results were obtained with the immersion in 80 °C water and the microwave-assisted sterilization. Both methods achieved a high degree of mask decontamination without altering the filtration efficiency and breathability, in accordance with the quality standard. The proposed decontamination methods represent a useful approach to reduce the environmental impact of this new waste material. Moreover, these procedures can be easily reproduced with common household equipment to increase the recycling efforts.

COVID-19 , Household Articles , COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Filtration , Humans , Masks
Gels ; 8(2)2022 Jan 29.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1667104


Hand hygiene, social distancing, and face covering are considered the first protection against Coronavirus spreading. The high demand during the COVID-19 emergency has driven a frenetic production and marketing of hand sanitizer gels. Nevertheless, the effect of the gelling agent and its amount on the effectiveness of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (ABHSs) needs to be clarified. We presented a systematic study on the effect of the characteristics and concentration of the most employed excipients on the properties and antimicrobial activity of ABHSs. Three different gelling agents, carbopol, hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (HPMC), and hydroxyethylcellulose (HEC), at four different concentrations were used to prepare ABHSs. Viscosity, spreadability, delivery from commercial dispensers, evaporation rate, rubbing time, and hand distribution of the ABHSs were then explored. Biocidal activity of selected ABHSs was evaluated in vitro on ATCC and clinical strains. The studied ABHS can be considered bioactive and comfortable. Nevertheless, the cellulose polymers and ethanol interactions led to a slight but significant reduction in the biocidal activity compared with carbopol-based formulations. Our results underline the importance of the gelling agent properties and support the choice of carbopol as one of the best thickener agents in ABHS formulations.