Reuse of filtering facepiece respirators in the COVID-19 era

Joren Van Loon, Lore Veelaert, Sander van Goethem, Regan Watts, Stijn Verwulgen, Jouke C. Verlinden, Els Du Bois

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

The current COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an immense and unforeseen increase in demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers worldwide. Amongst other products, respirator masks are crucial to protect the users against transmission of the virus. Decontamination and reuse of the existing stock could be a solution to the shortage of new respirators. Based upon existing studies, it was found that (I) a solid quality control method is essential to test product reuse, (II) in-depth evaluation of the different parts of the filtering facepiece respirator (FFR) should be considered, and (III) communication of the reuse cycle is essential to take track of the amount of reuse, as this is limited to ensure quality. The goal of this paper is two-fold. First, we identify the impact of decontamination on the different parts of the FFRs and how the quality control should be performed. Two different types of FFRs are analysed within this paper, resulting in the recommendation of combining quantitative respirator mask fit testing with a thorough sensory evaluation of decontaminated FFRs to qualify them for reuse. Secondly, the possibilities of communication of this reuse to the eventual user are mapped through in-depth reasoning.

Original languageEnglish
Article number797
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Keywords

  • COVID19
  • Product shortage
  • Quality control
  • Respirators
  • Reuse

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