Beaumont Health develops technology to disinfect N95 masks

Mackenzie Garrity - Print  | 

Royal Oak, Mich.-based Beaumont Health bioengineers have adapted technology to disinfect N95 masks and other personal protective equipment, according to

"This is a major development which will help us contribute to protect our staff during this pandemic," said Carolyn Wilson, COO of Beaumont Health. "Our engineers stepped up, adapting technology to create this process. With the severe national shortage of masks, this will allow us to protect our staff, conserve resources and reduce medical waste."

Using an ultraviolet light generator, the masks are cleaned while hanging from cables. The walls are covered in reflective foil for "safe and effective" sterilization. The process takes less than two hours to clean personal protective equipment.

"We've adopted a two-step process based on work from the University of Nebraska and in collaboration with University of Michigan," said Sam Flanders, MD, chief quality officer. "A powerful ultraviolet light exposes all surfaces of the mask for eight minutes. UV light has been proven to kill the COVID germ, along with other microorganisms. Next, the masks are heated to 150-160 degrees for one hour."

Staff that are assigned N95 masks are asked to return their masks at the end of their shifts. If the masks are visibly soiled, contaminated or wet, they will be discarded.

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