The International Society for Respiratory Protection

pdf Vol. 37. No. 2. 2020 pp. 71 - 85 Bergman

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A Review of Decontamination Methods for Filtering Facepiece Respirators

Mike Bergman, Edward M. Fisher, and Brian K. Heimbuch

During the current COVID-19 infectious disease pandemic, the demand for NIOSH-approved filtering facepiece respirators (FFR) has exceeded supplies and decontamination and reuse of FFRs has been implemented by various user groups.  FFR decontamination and reuse is only intended to be implemented as a crisis capacity strategy.  This paper provides a review of decontamination procedures in the published literature and calls attention to their benefits and limitations.  In most cases, the data are limited to a few FFR models and a limited number of decontamination cycles.  Institutions planning to implement a decontamination method must understand its limitations in terms of the degree of inactivation of the intended mircroorganisms and the treatment's effects on the fit and filtration of the device.

Keywords: N95 respirator, filtering facepiece respirator, decontamination, respirator reuse.