New Battelle System Disinfects PPE for Reuse


FEMA sent a Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System to Oregon to disinfect N95 masks for re-use.

EUGENE ─ Through a contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Oregon has received a Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System, one of 60 in the United States. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved using Battelle’s decontamination system for cleaning used N95 masks. This system is a game-changer for healthcare providers fighting the Coronavirus PPE shortage ─ and there’s a unit on its way to Eugene.  

The Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System uses concentrated vapor hydrogen peroxide to sterilize used respirators. It can treat 85,000 of masks per day and decontaminate the same mask upwards of 20 times without degrading its ability to protect users from airborne pathogens.

The first two containers from Battelle arriving in Eugene on May 4, 2020.

Battelle will operate the system with a crew of about 20 staff, and will be based in Eugene so it can disinfect masks from several areas of the state. There are two other Battelle systems in the region: one in Tacoma, Washington and another in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Up until this point, healthcare providers have been mailing N95 masks to the closest site, but the Eugene unit will give access to the rest of the providers in the state.

In a recent press conference, Gov. Kate Brown praised the Battelle system as an example of the state’s efforts to bolster its resources of personal protective equipment, as it will help the state clean masks in a safe, environmentally friendly way.

Here’s a snapshot of how the system works:

About Author

Amy Velez is an Operations & Policy Analyst with Oregon's Department of Administrative Services

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