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Cleaning of filtering facepiece respirators contaminated with mucin and Staphylococcus aureus.
Heimbuch BK; Kinney K; Lumley AE; Harnish DA; Bergman M; Wander JD
Am J Infect Control 2014 Mar; 42(3):265-270
BACKGROUND: Decontamination, cleaning, and reuse of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs) has been proposed to mitigate an acute FFR shortage during a public health emergency. Our study evaluates the ability of commercially available wipe products to clean FFRs contaminated with either infectious or noninfectious aerosols. METHODS: Three models of surgical N95 FFRs were contaminated with aerosols of mucin or viable Staphylococcus aureus then cleaned with hypochlorite, benzalkonium chloride, or nonantimicrobial wipes. After cleaning, FFRs were separated into components (nose pad, fabrics, and perforated strip), and contaminants were extracted and quantified. Filtration performance was assessed for cleaned FFRs. RESULTS: Mucin removal was <1 log for all wipe products on all components. Inert wipes achieved approximately 1-log attenuation in viable S aureus on fabrics from all FFR models-removal was less effective from nose pads and perforated edges. Both antimicrobial wipes achieved 3-5-log attenuation on most components, with smaller reductions on nose pads and greater reductions on perforated strips. Particle penetration following cleaning yielded mean values <5%. The highest penetrations were observed in FFRs cleaned with benzalkonium chloride wipes. CONCLUSIONS: FFRs can be disinfected using antimicrobial wipe products, but not effectively cleaned with the wipes evaluated in this study. This study provides informative data for the development of better FFRs and applicable cleaning products.
Face-masks; Respirators; Respiratory-equipment; Respiratory-protective-equipment; Air-purifying-respirators; Cleaning-compounds; Decontamination; Aerosols; Infection-control; Infectious-diseases; Disease-control; Microorganisms; Filtration; Filter-fabrics; Aerosol-particles; Author Keywords: Aerosol; Bioaerosol; Decontamination; Influenza; Pandemic; Saliva
Brian K. Heimbuch, MS, Applied Research Associates, 430 W 5th St, Ste 700, Panama City, FL 32401
Issue of Publication
American Journal of Infection Control
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division