• decontamination;
  • filtering facepiece respirator;
  • influenza;
  • pandemic;
  • UV-C


Aims:  To develop a method to assess model-specific parameters for ultraviolet-C (UV-C, 254 nm) decontamination of filtering facepiece respirators (FFRs).

Methods and Results:  UV-C transmittance was quantified for the distinct composite layers of six N95 FFR models and used to calculate model-specific α-values, the percentage of the surface UV-C irradiance available for the internal filtering medium (IFM). Circular coupons, excised from the FFRs, were exposed to aerosolized particles containing MS2 coliphage and treated with IFM-specific UV-C doses ranging from 38 to 4707 J m−2. Models exposed to a minimum IFM dose of 1000 J m−2 demonstrated at least a 3 log reduction (LR) in viable MS2. Model-specific exposure times to achieve this IFM dose ranged from 2 to 266 min.

Conclusions:  UV-C transmits into and through FFR materials. LR of MS2 was a function of model-specific IFM UV-C doses.

Significance and Impact of the Study:  Filtering facepiece respirators are in high demand during infectious disease outbreaks, potentially leading to supply shortages. Reuse of disposable FFRs after decontamination has been discussed as a possible remediation strategy, but to date lacks supporting scientific evidence. The methods described here can be used to assess the likelihood that UV-C decontamination will be successful for specific FFR models.