Respirator mask shortage solution: a new, purpose-built, VPHP bio-decontamination system

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Respirator mask shortage issues

Providing a new respirator mask every day for employee safety has become an issue.  Not only do healthcare operators need them, as they are most likely to be exposed to virus and bacteria infections, but now every organization needs to provide them to employees to protect against the spreading of the coronavirus infections.

Even before the pandemic, industrial organizations dealing with biological agents, chemical substances and dust/powders in their work environment were obligated to provide personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, to workers to safeguard their health and safety. Protection masks had a reasonable cost, and companies had no supply issues.

Things have changed with the Covid-19 crisis.

Wall Street Journal investigators recently reported on a “chaotic grey market1  to get protective masks, gloves, gowns, with high costs, uncertain quality and unknown delivery times. The Guardian also reports that this market “is a madhouse”2, with supplies going to the highest bidder. This situation results in a procurement nightmare.

The possibilities with VPHP decontamination

In this current situation, mask reuse is now being taken seriously. Masks cannot be washed to get rid of biological contamination and the standard recommendation is to discard a mask at least after each work shift.

Is there another way for an organization to bio-decontaminate masks from viruses and bacteria and use them again?

Researchers have studied this problem and analyzed a few techniques, such as ultraviolet irradiation, bleach, pasteurization, liquid hydrogen peroxide, and hydrogen peroxide vapor. The one that has shown the most promise is automatic Vapor Phase Hydrogen Peroxide (VPHP) decontamination.

For example, recent Duke University studies report that vaporised hydrogen peroxide kills pathogens and does not degrade the N95 masks.3

VPHP is used and highly recommended for decontamination in pharmaceutical processes and generally used inside closed isolators where medicinal products are prepared.

Comecer is a leading worldwide producer of isolators and provides VPHP decontamination equipment.

Our solution for respirator mask shortage (FFP2, FFP3, N95, N100, KN95, KN99, and KN100)

The Comecer R&D department recently studied a way to provide VPHP bio-decontamination for protective respirator masks. The respirator masks types have a variety of names around the world, like FFP2, FFP3, N95, N100, KN95, KN99, and KN100.

The goal was to provide not just the decontamination, but an easy way for workers to hand over a “dirty” mask after a work shift and get it back decontaminated when they return for the next shift. To make internal movements quick and easy, there also needs to be a way to identify each worker’s mask and masks belonging to a particular department or ward.

After careful evaluation of possible solutions, Comecer launches DeconBox™.

DeconBox™ Fast Decontamination of Respirator Masks and Other Devices

DeconBox™ Fast Decontamination of Respirator Masks and Other Devices

What is DeconBox™?

DeconBox™ is a mobile VPHP decontamination box for fast decontamination of respirator masks and other devices.

  • The DeconBox decontamination procedure guarantees a LOG-6 microbial reduction.
  • DeconBox saves on total costs when compared to single-use respirator mask usage.
  • Masks are traced to individuals: workers are assigned a personal DeconCase™ where they place the “dirty” mask at the end of their shift and retrieve a bio-decontaminated mask at the beginning of the next shift.
  • Up to 100 respirator masks can be decontaminated in each DeconBox cycle, and up to 4 DeconBox units can be connected to the same VPHP Generator.

If you are interested in exploring the technical details of this unique solution, you can find more details on the DeconBox™ page, where you can also request a quote for a system that would be suitable for your facility.

(View DeconBox™ details)


  1. Brody Mullins, Susan Pulliam and Brett Forrest, “A Chaotic Gray Market Determines Who Gets Coronavirus Gear—and Who Doesn’t”, The Wall Street Journal, May 8, 2020.
  2. “Market for Chinese-made masks is a madhouse, says broker”, The Guardian, April 5, 2020.
  3. “Duke Health reveals way to disinfect N95 masks using VHP”, Cleanroom Technology, March 27, 2020.

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