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Sci Rep ; 12(1): 2445, 2022 02 14.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1684114


Surgical masks have become critical for protecting human health against the COVID-19 pandemic, even though their environmental burden is a matter of ongoing debate. This study aimed at shedding light on the environmental impacts of single-use (i.e., MD-Type I) versus reusable (i.e., MD-Type IIR) face masks via a comparative life cycle assessment with a cradle-to-grave system boundary. We adopted a two-level analysis using the ReCiPe (H) method, considering both midpoint and endpoint categories. The results showed that reusable face masks created fewer impacts for most midpoint categories. At the endpoint level, reusable face masks were superior to single-use masks, producing scores of 16.16 and 84.20 MPt, respectively. The main environmental impacts of single-use masks were linked to raw material consumption, energy requirements and waste disposal, while the use phase and raw material consumption made the most significant contribution for reusable type. However, our results showed that lower environmental impacts of reusable face masks strongly depend on the use phase since reusable face masks lost their superior performance when the hand wash scenario was tested. Improvement of mask eco-design emerged as another key factor such as using more sustainable raw materials and designing better waste disposal scenarios could significantly lower the environmental impacts.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Masks/standards , Personal Protective Equipment/standards , Textiles/standards , COVID-19/epidemiology , COVID-19/virology , Disposable Equipment/standards , Ecosystem , Environment , Equipment Reuse/standards , Humans , Masks/classification , Pandemics/prevention & control , Personal Protective Equipment/classification , Public Health/methods , SARS-CoV-2/physiology , Textiles/classification
ACS Nano ; 14(10): 12313-12340, 2020 10 27.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-738273


Personal protective equipment (PPE) is critical to protect healthcare workers (HCWs) from highly infectious diseases such as COVID-19. However, hospitals have been at risk of running out of the safe and effective PPE including personal protective clothing needed to treat patients with COVID-19, due to unprecedented global demand. In addition, there are only limited manufacturing facilities of such clothing available worldwide, due to a lack of available knowledge about relevant technologies, ineffective supply chains, and stringent regulatory requirements. Therefore, there remains a clear unmet need for coordinating the actions and efforts from scientists, engineers, manufacturers, suppliers, and regulatory bodies to develop and produce safe and effective protective clothing using the technologies that are locally available around the world. In this review, we discuss currently used PPE, their quality, and the associated regulatory standards. We survey the current state-of-the-art antimicrobial functional finishes on fabrics to protect the wearer against viruses and bacteria and provide an overview of protective medical fabric manufacturing techniques, their supply chains, and the environmental impacts of current single-use synthetic fiber-based protective clothing. Finally, we discuss future research directions, which include increasing efficiency, safety, and availability of personal protective clothing worldwide without conferring environmental problems.

Disease Transmission, Infectious/prevention & control , Health Personnel , Personal Protective Equipment/standards , Humans , Personal Protective Equipment/classification , Personal Protective Equipment/virology , Practice Guidelines as Topic , Textiles/standards