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A method to determine the available UV-C dose for the decontamination of filtering facepiece respirators.
J Appl Microbiol 2011 Jan; 110(1):287-295
Aims: To develop a method to assess model-specific parameters for ultraviolet-C (UV-C, 254 nm) decontamination of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs). Methods and Results: UV-C transmittance was quantified for the distinct composite layers of six N95 FFR models and used to calculate model-specific alpha-values, the percentage of the surface UV-C irradiance available for the internal filtering medium (IFM). Circular coupons, excised from the FFRs, were exposed to aerosolized particles containing MS2 coliphage and treated with IFM-specific UV-C doses ranging from 38 to 4707 J m(-2) . Models exposed to a minimum IFM dose of 1000 J m(-2) demonstrated at least a 3 log reduction (LR) in viable MS2. Model-specific exposure times to achieve this IFM dose ranged from 2 to 266 min. Conclusions: UV-C transmits into and through FFR materials. LR of MS2 was a function of model-specific IFM UV-C doses. Significance and Impact of the Study: Filtering facepiece respirators are in high demand during infectious disease outbreaks, potentially leading to supply shortages. Reuse of disposable FFRs after decontamination has been discussed as a possible remediation strategy, but to date lacks supporting scientific evidence. The methods described here can be used to assess the likelihood that UV-C decontamination will be successful for specific FFR models.
Respirators; Respiratory-equipment; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Respiratory-protection; Filters; Exposure-limits; Particulates; Decontamination; Medical-equipment; Infection-control; Health-care-facilities; Author Keywords: Decontamination; Filtering facepiece respirator; Influenza; Pandemic; UV-C
Ronald E. Shaffer, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, 626 Cochrans Mill Rd., PO Box 18070, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Issue of Publication
Healthcare and Social Assistance
Journal of Applied Microbiology
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division