Evaluation of decontamination methods for commercial and alternative respirator and mask materials – view from filtration aspect

Qisheng Ou, Chenxing Pei, Seong Chan Kim, Elizabeth Abell, David Y.H. Pui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study aims to evaluate the filtration performance of three commercially available (3M 8210 respirator, Halyard 48207 surgical mask, and 3M 1820 procedure mask) and two alternative face mask and respirator materials (Halyard H600 sterilization wrap and Cummins EX101) after selected decontamination treatments, including isopropanol (IPA) treatments (soaking or spraying), ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI), and heat treatments (dry heat at 77 °C or steam heat). Both IPA soaking and spraying removed most electrostatic charges on all four electret materials (three commercial and one alternative), causing significant deterioration of filtration efficiency to unacceptable level. The other non-electret alternative material sustained its N95-grade performance after both IPA soaking and spraying treatments, demonstrating the possible application of IPA disinfection for non-electret alternative respirator/mask materials. UVGI preserved the filtration of all three commercially available respirator/mask materials after up to 10 treatments, suggesting it can be a possible decontamination method for hospital and clinic use without compromising respirator/mask performance. The considerations of the practical implementation of this method was discussed. Between the two heat treatment methods tested, dry heat showed better compatibility with electret material by sustaining both filtration efficiency and fit (tested on commercial respirator only), although adding moisture was reported in favor of virus inactivation. Heat treatment is easily accessible method for general publics to implement at home, while it is recommended to maintain the moisture level below saturation. Comparing to size-integrated method, the size-resolved fractional efficiency measurement technique, although more time consuming, proved to be a better method for evaluating respirator/mask filtration performance after decontaminations by providing more sensitive detection of performance degradation and the capability of distinguishing charge loss to other mechanisms causing efficiency deterioration. Detailed descriptions are provided in methodology part to emphasize the cares needed for an appropriate efficiency evaluation. The limited results in this study on worn masks made of alternative sterilization wrap indicated possible performance degradation of electret material caused by normal human wearing activities, suggesting the need of assessing respirator/mask decontamination strategy by testing practically worn-and-decontaminated/reused samples instead of unworn only-decontaminated counterparts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105609
JournalJournal of Aerosol Science
Volume150
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the support of members of the Center for Filtration Research: 3M Corporation, Applied Materials, Inc. BASF Corporation, Boeing Company, Corning Incorporated, Cummins Filtration Inc., Donaldson Company, Inc., Entegris, Inc., Ford Motor Company, Guangxi WatYuan Filtration System Co. Ltd, LG Electronics Inc., MSP Corporation, Parker Hannifin, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Shengda Filtration Technology Co. Ltd., Shigematsu Works Co. Ltd., TSI Inc., W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc., Yancheng Environmental Protection Science and Technology City, and the affiliate member National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). We would like to thank Dr. Sandra Roberts of Lakeview Clinic Waconia, Minnesota for preparing field worn mask samples. We would like to acknowledge the fruitful discussion we had with Professor Emeritus Yasuo Kousaka, Osaka Prefecture University, Sakai, Osaka, Japan; and with Dr. Michel Pourprix, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Gernoble, France.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the support of members of the Center for Filtration Research : 3M Corporation, Applied Materials , Inc., BASF Corporation , Boeing Company , Corning Incorporated , Cummins Filtration Inc. , Donaldson Company, Inc. , Entegris, Inc. , Ford Motor Company , Guangxi WatYuan Filtration System Co., Ltd , LG Electronics Inc. , MSP Corporation , Parker Hannifin , Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. , Shengda Filtration Technology Co., Ltd. , Shigematsu Works Co., Ltd. , TSI Inc. , W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc. , Yancheng Environmental Protection Science and Technology City , and the affiliate member National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) . We would like to thank Dr. Sandra Roberts of Lakeview Clinic Waconia, Minnesota for preparing field worn mask samples. We would like to acknowledge the fruitful discussion we had with Professor Emeritus Yasuo Kousaka, Osaka Prefecture University, Sakai, Osaka, Japan; and with Dr. Michel Pourprix, French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Gernoble, France.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Dry heat treatment
  • Electret and non-electret media
  • Fractional efficiency
  • Steam heat treatment
  • Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation
  • Worn masks

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