Evaluation of hydrogen peroxide and ozone residue levels on N95 masks following chemical decontamination

Source avec lien : Journal of Hospital Infection, (Prépublication), . 10.1016/j.jhin.2021.02.018

Le peroxyde d’hydrogène et l’ozone ont été utilisés comme agents de décontamination chimique pour les masques N95 lors de pénuries d’approvisionnement. S’ils restent sur les masques, les résidus de ces deux produits chimiques représentent un danger potentiel pour la santé par contact avec la peau et par exposition respiratoire.

Background Hydrogen peroxide and ozone have been used as chemical decontamination agents for N95 masks during supply shortages. If left behind on the masks the residues of both chemicals are representing a potential health hazard by skin contact and respiratory exposure. Aim Characterization of hydrogen peroxide and ozone residues on mask surfaces after chemical decontamination. Methods Various N95 masks were decontaminated using two commercial systems employing either aerosol spray or vaporization of hydrogen peroxide in the presence of ozone. Following the decontamination, the masks were aired out to eliminate moisture and potential chemical residues. The residual hydrogen peroxide and ozone were monitored in the gas phase above the mask surface, and hydrogen peroxide residue directly on mask surfaces using a colorimetric assay. Findings After decontamination, hydrogen peroxide and ozone were detectable in the gas phase in the vicinity of masks even after five hours (h) of aeration. Hydrogen peroxide was also detected on all studied masks, and levels up to 56 mg per mask were observed after 0.5 h of aeration. All residues gradually decreased with aeration, likely due to decomposition and vaporization. Conclusion Hydrogen peroxide and ozone were present on N95 masks after decontamination. With appropriate aeration, the gaseous residue levels in the vicinity of the masks decreased to permissible levels as defined by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The reliable assays to monitor these residues are crucial to ensure the safety of the mask users.

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