Decontamination Extends Life of Respirator Masks
A N95 mask is seen on the sidewalk next to corona beer bottle caps outside Wycoff Heights Medical Center, Wednesday, April 1, 2020, in New York. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people, but for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Michigan State University College of Engineering, MSU Extension and Sparrow Hospital in Lansing have partnered together to develop a decontamination process for N-95 respirators.

The process is designed to extend the life of the respirators, meaning they can be reused. Decontamination takes place conducted through a dry heat process that can be replicated in most commercial ovens, allowing masks to be disinfected up to 20 times.

The project is being supported in part by Delta Dental of Michigan which is providing $25,000. However, more training, staff and resources are needed, which is expected to cost about $1 million.

The process has already started and decontaminated respirators will go into circulation within the next few weeks. The priority for distribution is on the areas of greatest need, including hospitals in southeast Michigan and the greater Lansing area.