Extending the Use of N95 Respirators
Given the challenges in obtaining supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE), it’s critical that dental professionals understand when and how to extend the use of N95 masks and other respirators without compromising their infection control performance. The ADA guide “Extending the Use of N95 Masks” offers guidance to dental professionals for the extended use or reuse of these respirators, and includes links to resources from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on safely extending the use of N95s.Another option for dentists to consider is utilization of a decontamination system, like the Battelle CCDS Critical Care Decontamination System, which was issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in late March. Under this EUA, health care personnel—including dentists—can sign up for complimentary decontamination of N95 masks, a service funded entirely by the federal government. The MDS is working with Battelle’s Somerville location to make it easier for dentists to sign up for the service. To streamline the process, the MDS has set up a master account with Battelle. Dentists simply need to identify a contact person in your organization and submit your contact information through this online form and Battelle will contact you via email within a week to relay the program details and next steps, such as sending you no-cost Fedex shipping labels. (You will need to log in to your MDS account to access the form.)
Note: The MDS assumes no responsibility for masks sent to Battelle for decontamination. Battelle requires that all compatible N95 respirators provided for decontamination must be free of any visual soiling or contamination (e.g., blood, bodily fluids, makeup). Respirators that are visually soiled or damaged should not be submitted for decontamination; any that are will be disposed of and not returned after decontamination.