Hygiene Management // Personal Protection

Reprocessing respiratory masks

The supply gaps for respiratory masks are huge. Reprocessing has been permitted since April 1st. The procedure recommended by the German government classifies material standards and relies on personalization to ensure the protective function.

Respiratory masks that disappear by the container without a trace, or are glued from coffee filters or produced using a 3D printer at home: Necessity is the mother of invention, but can sometimes be considered a crime. With the reprocessing of medical face masks being approved on April 1st, the German government wants to create a quick interim solution until sufficient new respiratory masks become available on the world market. Aim of the reprocessing procedure: To reuse a sufficient number of masks without reducing their protective function.

Indeed, face masks are also in short supply. However, when directly caring for COVID-19 patients, FFP2 and FFP3 masks are in particularly high demand.

The recommendations for the decontamination of FFP2 and FFP3 class respiratory masks:

Thermal Decontamination:

  • For decontaminating FFP2 and FFP3 respiratory masks, the recommendation is for thermal disinfection at 65°C to 70°C over a period of 30 minutes.
  • Inactivation through heat can be carried out in drying ovens.

Bewertung der Materialbeständigkeit:

1. High probability that the contour will remain and the material will not change:

  • Masks with CE marking
  • Masks approved by the Central Office of the Federal States for Safety Technology (ZLS)

2. Masks that have to be subjected to a quick test for temperature resistance at 70°C before reprocessing:

  • Masks that are marketable in the USA, Canada, Australia or Japan

3. Masks that have to be subjected to a test for temperature resistance at 70°C over 24 hours before reprocessing:

  • Incoming non CE-marked masks

Download PDF checklist

Federal Ministry of Health. Use of protective masks in healthcare facilities. Paper from the crisis team with the involvement of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) and IFA. 03/31/2020.

More articles:
„Hygiene in context with Corona“
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