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How Battelle found a sustainable way to decontaminate N95 masks

In 2014, a science research and development organization based out of Columbus, Ohio, thought to be proactive in the fight against diseases.

Similar to Bill Gates in his predictions of a pandemic, Battelle was a step ahead in anticipating an outbreak and figured a way they could be of help in a world of material consumption and waste.


Fast forward to 2020, and Battelle was enlisted by the Food & Drug Administration [FDA] to distribute its decontamination system for personal protective equipment [PPE], including the N95 mask.

These were initially installed in Ohio hospitals and set to decontaminate 10,000 masks a day.


As the spread of the coronavirus persists the Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine has made an effort to send decontamination machines to hospitals and healthcare facilities that have been experiencing a shortage of PPE due to the number of patients in need of care.

Machines were sent to health care operations in Ohio as well as Washington state, Washington, D.C., and the epicenter of the coronavirus, New York City.

With COVID-19 hitting major cities at alarming rates, the federal stockpile of equipment is still waiting to be deployed by President Donald Trump.

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Today, Battelle has been granted the ability to decontaminate up to 80,000 masks a day. These masks can have an extended lifespan and can be worn up to 20 times by healthcare workers in the field, sans degradation of mask performance.

Battelle’s decontamination machine and system use concentrated hydrogen peroxide vapor, then the filters are gassed for two and a half hours to destroy viruses, bacteria, and other contaminants, including the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

With plans further plans to recycle and reuse materials within the healthcare field, Battelle wants to be able to produce machines that are capable of decontaminating ventilators and other pieces of equipment.

While we wait for companies to produce all the PPE gear that is needed for handling this pandemic accordingly, we should take note of what solution could improve our response to situations like the one we are in at this very moment.

Battelle has sought a circular solution for the n95 mask issue and has been considerate enough to the planet and to the people that inhabit it.

Look for this article on PAGE magazine.