COLUMBUS, Ohio (July 6, 2020)—In a warehouse in Northeast Washington sits eight large shipping containers — the kind one might expect to see in a shipyard.
Inside are dozens of previously worn N95 respirator masks. Workers, clad in protective clothing, place masks onto racks inside a container, tossing aside any that are contaminated with bodily fluids or makeup. The masks are sprayed with hydrogen peroxide vapor and then moved into empty shipping containers to be aerated.
The process is part of a government-sponsored program to decontaminate and reuse what is normally single-use personal protective equipment during the novel coronavirus crisis.
The system operated by Battelle Memorial Institute, an Ohio-based nonprofit research corporation, is part of efforts in the D.C. area and across the country to reuse personal protective gear such as masks amid continued shortages of the equipment.
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