In times like these, limited supply of disposable masks leads to a lack of personal protective equipment and requires a solution for this exceptional period. Reprocessing is currently a frequently addressed topic in this case!
Because steam sterilization already plays a particularly important role in the reprocessing of medical devices and is now proving a suitable approach for decontaminating masks amongst other methods. It is important that the masks meet the requirements of the conformity assessment standards, norms and guidelines of their country of origin.
According to latest scientific recommendations and reports after reprocessing FFP2/FFP3 masks (for single use), the filter effect and respiratory capacity should be maintained during steam sterilization. We are referring to a specified steam sterilization process presented in a publication of the Delft University of Technology (2, 3), official recommendations of Austrian Authorities (1) and the Alberta Health Services (4, 5).
Based on the reported process for decontamination of masks (2) W&H tested the decontamination of FFP2/FFP3 masks with W&H sterilizer in order to verify the correct handling, loading and the process of sterilization. Steam sterilization with 121°C cycle is suitable for FFP2/FFP3 masks with or without an exhalation valve.
With optimal loading in a W&H Sterilizer, approx. 40 to 60 masks can be reprocessed per one sterilization cycle (depending on masks, on their size and loading scheme). For reprocessing and the safe reuse or extended use protective masks, please always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for use as the principle sources of information and recommendations.
In times like these, W&H as your point of contact with 130 years of experience and its know-how in medical technology, supports you in an emergency and exceptional situation.
Which type of masks can be sterilized?
FFP2, FFP3, surgical masks.
How often can I sterilize used masks?
The steam sterilized masks can be reused one to five times (by the documentation of the sterilization cycles on the packaging).
Importantly, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for use as the principle sources of information about reprocessing of the masks.
How do I sterilize the masks?
Pack the mask in a sterilization/laminate pouch and observe the loading scheme. The masks can be packed both in sterilization wrapping paper or in pouches (sterilization wrapping paper is less critical when overlapped).
How many masks can be sterilized?
40-60 masks with one sterilization cylce (depending on the size of the masks)
Are there any guidelines that must be observed?
Yes, please observe following protective measures when reprocessing the masks:
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