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Exp Biol Med (Maywood) ; 246(6): 740-748, 2021 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-978883


Shortages of N95 respirators for use by medical personnel have driven consideration of novel conservation strategies, including decontamination for reuse and extended use. Decontamination methods listed as promising by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (vaporous hydrogen peroxide (VHP), wet heat, ultraviolet irradiation (UVI)) and several methods considered for low resource environments (bleach, isopropyl alcohol and detergent/soap) were studied for two commonly used surgical N95 respirators (3M™ 1860 and 1870+ Aura™). Although N95 filtration performance depends on the electrostatically charged electret filtration layer, the impact of decontamination on this layer is largely unexplored. As such, respirator performance following decontamination was assessed based on the fit, filtration efficiency, and pressure drop, along with the relationship between (1) surface charge of the electret layer, and (2) elastic properties of the straps. Decontamination with VHP, wet heat, UVI, and bleach did not degrade fit and filtration performance or electret charge. Isopropyl alcohol and soap significantly degraded fit, filtration performance, and electret charge. Pressure drop across the respirators was unchanged. Modest degradation of N95 strap elasticity was observed in mechanical fatigue testing, a model for repeated donnings and doffings. CDC recommended decontamination methods including VHP, wet heat, and UV light did not degrade N95 respirator fit or filtration performance in these tests. Extended use of N95 respirators may degrade strap elasticity, but a loss of face seal integrity should be apparent during user seal checks. NIOSH recommends performing user seal checks after every donning to detect loss of appropriate fit. Decontamination methods which degrade electret charge such as alcohols or detergents should not be used on N95 respirators. The loss of N95 performance due to electret degradation would not be apparent to a respirator user or evident during a negative pressure user seal check.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , N95 Respirators/supply & distribution , 2-Propanol/pharmacology , Detergents/pharmacology , Humans , Hydrogen Peroxide/pharmacology , SARS-CoV-2 , Sodium Hypochlorite/pharmacology , Static Electricity , Ultraviolet Rays
Am J Infect Control ; 48(12): 1457-1461, 2020 12.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-713731


BACKGROUND: To address the shortage of N95 respirators in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, some organizations have recommended the decontamination of respirators using vaporized hydrogen peroxide (VHP) sterilizer for up to 10 times. However, these recommendations are based on studies that did not take into account the extended use of respirators, which can degrade respirator fit. METHODS: We investigated the impact of extended use and decontamination with VHP on N95 Respirator Fit. We performed a prospective cohort study to determine the number of times respirators can be decontaminated before respirator fit test failure. The primary outcome was the overall number of cycles required for half of the respirators to fail (either mechanical failure or fit test failure). RESULTS: Thirty-six participants completed 360 hours of respirator usage across 90 cycles. The median number of cycles completed by participants before respirator failure was 2. The overall number of cycles required for half of respirators to fail was 1, 3, 5, and 4 for the 3M 1860(S), 3M 1870+, Moldex 151X and ProGear 88020 respirators, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: The combination of prolonged usage and VHP decontamination was associated with early failure. Decontamination and prolonged usage of respirators must be done cautiously.

COVID-19/prevention & control , Decontamination/methods , Equipment Reuse , N95 Respirators/virology , Respiratory Protective Devices/virology , Adult , Decontamination/standards , Female , Humans , Hydrogen Peroxide , Male , Prospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Volatilization
J Hosp Infect ; 106(3): 504-521, 2020 Nov.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-709227


BACKGROUND: Decontaminating and reusing filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) for healthcare workers is a potential solution to address inadequate FFR supply during a global pandemic. AIM: The objective of this review was to synthesize existing data on the effectiveness and safety of using chemical disinfectants to decontaminate N95 FFRs. METHODS: A systematic review was conducted on disinfectants to decontaminate N95 FFRs using Embase, Medline, Global Health, Google Scholar, WHO feed, and MedRxiv. Two reviewers independently determined study eligibility and extracted predefined data fields. Original research reporting on N95 FFR function, decontamination, safety, or FFR fit following decontamination with a disinfectant was included. FINDINGS AND CONCLUSION: A single cycle of vaporized hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) successfully removes viral pathogens without affecting airflow resistance or fit, and maintains an initial filter penetration of <5%, with little change in FFR appearance. Residual hydrogen peroxide levels following decontamination were within safe limits. More than one decontamination cycle of vaporized H2O2 may be possible but further information is required on how multiple cycles would affect FFR fit in a real-world setting before the upper limit can be established. Although immersion in liquid H2O2 does not appear to adversely affect FFR function, there is no available data on its ability to remove infectious pathogens from FFRs or its impact on FFR fit. Sodium hypochlorite, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol, and ethylene oxide are not recommended due to safety concerns or negative effects on FFR function.

Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Decontamination/standards , Disinfectants/administration & dosage , Equipment Reuse/standards , Hydrogen Peroxide/administration & dosage , Respiratory Protective Devices/virology , Sodium Hypochlorite/administration & dosage , Guidelines as Topic , Humans , Ultraviolet Rays