MSU and Sparrow Hospital Develop Decontamination Process for N95 Masks

MSU Extension, the MSU College of Engineering, and Sparrow Hospital developed a decontamination process to extend the life of N95 respirators so they can be reused. The process involves using dry heat which allows masks to be disinfected up to 20 times.

Currently, Sparrow Hospital in Lansing has its personnel label and deliver N95 respirators to the MSU Extension Food Processing and Innovation Center (FPIC) in Okemos. FPIC scientists and technicians decontaminate the respirators in a commercial oven using a touchless process. Sparrow hospital then returns them to their original owner for reuse.

“The MSU Extension team went from concept to testing this system in less than five days,” said Jeff Dwyer, MSU Extension director. “If it weren’t for the valuable partnership with Sparrow and funders like Delta Dental, we wouldn’t be able to keep this going. We’re proud of our staff members who jumped in to make it happen, and grateful for the support.”

Delta Dental is providing $25,000 to support the effort, and the project is in need of additional funding of about $1 million to cover the personnel, transport, and safety needs.

Once FDA grants the emergency authorization, the MSU Extension will be able to decontaminate respirators from other organizations for a nominal fee. They plan to put decontaminated respirators into circulation soon and distribute them to hospitals in Southeast Michigan and the Lansing Area.

Reporting for WGRT – Jessie Wiegand