Gamma radiation sterilization of N95 respirators leads to decreased respirator performance.

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From: PLoS ONE(Vol. 16, Issue 4)
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Document Type: Report
Length: 5,598 words
Lexile Measure: 1440L

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Abstract :

In response to personal protective equipment (PPE) shortages in the United States due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019, two models of N95 respirators were evaluated for reuse after gamma radiation sterilization. Gamma sterilization is attractive for PPE reuse because it can sterilize large quantities of material through hermetically sealed packaging, providing safety and logistic benefits. The Gamma Irradiation Facility at Sandia National Laboratories was used to irradiate N95 filtering facepiece respirators to a sterilization dose of 25 kGy(tissue). Aerosol particle filtration performance testing and electrostatic field measurements were used to determine the efficacy of the respirators after irradiation. Both respirator models exhibited statistically significant decreases in particle filtering efficiencies and electrostatic potential after irradiation. The largest decrease in capture efficiency was 40-50% and peaked near the 200 nm particle size. The key contribution of this effort is correlating the electrostatic potential change of individual filtration layer of the respirator with the decrease filtration efficiency after irradiation. This observation occurred in both variations of N95 respirator that we tested. Electrostatic potential measurement of the filtration layer is a key indicator for predicting filtration efficiency loss.

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A657819707