N95 Mask Decontamination Information

Interest in decontamination and re-use of N95 and similarly rated particle filtering masks* designed for single use has skyrocketed due to extraordinary demand that cannot be met during the current COVID-19 pandemic. For a decontamination technique to be considered worthy it must satisfy at least 4 criteria.

1) Effective in inactivating the targeted pathogen
2) Preserve desired particle filtration after decontamination
3) Preserve mask fit
4) Be safe for reuse

The most promising techniques appear to involve heat (wet or dry), hydrogen peroxide, and ultraviolet light. Other decontamination techniques such as alcohols, high heat, and bleach were shown by multiple investigators to destroy the filtering properties of the masks. Readers should note constraints and limitations for each study. Not all assessed masks fit after processing. Decontamination was assessed using established norms or by the inactivation of pathogens other than SARS-CoV-2, due to tests being performed before the current pandemic or the risks that would have been incurred. How many times the fabric or whole masks were re-sterilized also varies. Some websites, such as those from the Centers for Disease Control and the industry-academic consortium N95Decon.org are being continuously updated with new information and potential recommendations as they become available.

We have assembled potentially useful resources and references on this topic.

*Filtering Face Piece grades 2,3 (FFP2, FFP3) – Euro standards for N95 type masks

Disclaimer
The material on this website is provided for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice. New knowledge is added daily and may change over time. Opinions expressed should not be construed as representing IARS policy or recommendations. References and links to third parties do not constitute an endorsement or warranty by IARS.

Thank you IARS COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Board and Content Reviewers!

The IARS would like to recognize the COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Board and the Content Reviewers for sharing their expertise and time to help curate and evaluate the most relevant information coming out about COVID-19 for our members. The COVID-19 SAB meet regularly to discuss articles, provide reviews and determine what information would be most valuable to those on the frontline. The Content Reviewers review a list of articles daily to determine their topic areas and relevance to the audience. We greatly appreciate the commitment they have made to help during this major health crisis!

IARS COVID-19 Scientific Advisory Board

Current Members:

Lydia Cassorla, MD, MBA
Specialty: Anesthesiology
Professor Emerita, Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, University of California, San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

David M. Clement, MD
Specialty: Anesthesiology
St. Joseph Hospital
Winthrop, WA

Robert L. Coffey, MD
Specialty: Pulmonology
Retired Physician
Mount Vernon, WA

Jack Lance Lichtor, MD
Specialty: Anesthesiology
Yale University
New Haven, CT

Philip D. Lumb, M.B., B.S., M.D., MCCM, FCCP
Specialty: Cardiac Anesthesiology, Critical Care Medicine
Professor of Anesthesiology
Professor of Trauma Surgery
Director of Research and Data Analytics, Department of Anesthesiology
Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA

Barry Perlman, MD, PhD, CMI
Specialty: Anesthesiology
Chair, Informatics Committee, Oregon Society of Anesthesiologists
Eugene, OR

Jay Przybylo, MD, FAAP, MFA
Specialty: Anesthesiology
Associate Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Glenview, IL

Jagdip Shah, MD, MBA
Specialty: Anesthesiology
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology, Medical College of Virginia - Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine
Midlothian, VA

W. Heinrich Wurm, MD
Specialty: Anesthesiology
Chair Emeritus, Tufts Medical Center
Lovell, ME

Guest Contributors:

Joseph Anthony Caprini, MD, MS, FACS, RVT
Specialty: Vascular Surgery, Hematology (Clinical)
Senior Clinician Educator
University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine
Chicago, IL

Stephen Cecil, MD*
Specialty: Anesthesiology
Wayne County Anesthesia Associates, Wayne Memorial Hospital
Goldsboro, NC

David C. Henry, MD
Specialty: Anesthesiology
Jackson Anesthesia Associates
Oxford, MS

Anil Hingorani, MD
Specialty: Vascular Surgery, General Surgery
Vascular Institute Of New York
Brooklyn, NY

Louis McNabb, MD
Specialty: Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
St. Jude Medical Center
Fullerton, CA

Elin A. Rowley, ScD, MSc, IDHA*
Specialty: Infectious Diseases, Public Health/Epidemiology
Assistant Professor of Clinical Sciences, William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine
Hattiesburg, MS

Paul D. Scanlon, MD
Specialty: Internal Medicine, Pulmonology
Professor of Medicine (Retired)
Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science – Rochester
Rochester, MN

Edward S. Schulman, MD
Specialty: Allergy and Immunology; Pulmonology and Critical Care Medicine
Professor of Med and Division Chief
Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine
Philadelphia, PA

*Drs. Cecil and Rowley have been deployed to the frontlines to help address the influx of COVID-19 patients and have had to leave their post on the SAB.

IARS Content Reviewers

Nancy Kenepp, MD
Specialty: Anesthesiology
Associate Professor Emeritus, Temple University, Katz School of Medicine, Department of Anesthesiology
Wynnewood, PA

Jonathan V. Roth, MD
Specialty: Anesthesiology
Chairman Emeritus, Department of Anesthesiology; Staff Anesthesiologist, Albert Einstein Medical Center
Dresher, PA

Robert N. Sladen, MBChB, FCCM
Specialty: Anesthesiology, Critical Care Medicine
Allen Hyman Professor Emeritus of Critical Care Anesthesiology, Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Roxbury, CT

Eugene I. Tolpin, MD, PhD
Specialty: Anesthesiology
ChristianaCare Health Systems
Wilmington, Delaware

IARS Member Community

To assist members in sharing their COVID-19 experience, ideas, and questions, IARS has partnered with DocMatter to create a community for high-quality, clinical discussions. DocMatter is a networking platform tailored to the specific needs and requirements of the medical community.

Encourage, stimulate, and fund ongoing anesthesia-related research projects that will enhance and advance the specialty, and to disseminate current, state-of-the-art, basic and clinical research data in all areas of clinical anesthesia, including perioperative medicine, critical care, and pain management. The IARS is focused solely on the advancement and support of education and scientific research related to anesthesiology..

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