Health care workers in the United States and around the world are facing shortages of the personal protection equipment (PPE) as COVID-19 continues to spread. PPE ranging from gloves, gowns, eyewear and face masks are hard to come by, leaving those on the frontlines in the fight against the pandemic relying solely on donations.
As manufacturers ramp up production, health care works are left with no other choice than to reuse their potentially contaminated PPE. Although the CDC advises to limit the reuse of face masks, a new study released by Stanford Medicine states that N95 masks can be sterilized effectively while maintaining proper air filtration.
Study authors, Dr. Amy Price and Dr. Larry Chu, suggest that low temperature heating in an oven is an effective measure.
“70C /158F heating in an oven for 30min, or hot watervapor from boiling water for 10 min, are additional effective decontamination methods.”
While these methods can extend the use of face masks in times of need, the authors want to convey there is no hard evidence to indicate this practice is safe, and that the barrier protection is shown to deteriorate with use and time.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), “there is no way of determining the maximum possible number of safe reuses for an N95 respirator as a generic number to be applied in all cases.”
Data loggers are commonly used to validate autoclave sterilization cycles but can also be used in ovens for the same purpose. The data logger(s) can be placed in one or multiple spots inside the oven to ensure that the proper time and temperature is maintained throughout the cycle.
MadgeTech’s HiTemp140 high temperature data logger is ideal for this simple task. Capable of withstanding temperatures up to 140 °C (284 °F), the HiTemp140 offers time-stamped temperatures readings of the oven, validating an effective sterilization cycle while providing peace of mind.
To learn more about how data loggers can help promote safety and protection call us at (603) 456-2011 or email [email protected]