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Filtration Performance Degradation of In-Use Masks by Vapors from Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers and the Mitigation Solutions

By Weidong He, Yinghe Guo, Jingxian Liu, Yang Yue, Jing Wang

Posted 04 Nov 2020
medRxiv DOI: 10.1101/2020.11.01.20223982

How often does one perform hand disinfection while wearing a mask? In the current COVID-19 pandemic, wearing masks and hand disinfection are widely adopted hygiene practices. However, our study indicated that exposure to the vapors from alcohol-based sanitizers during hand disinfection might degrade the filtration performance of the in-use masks, and the degradation worsened with the increasing number of hand disinfection. After five times of hand disinfection, the filtration efficiencies of surgical masks decreased by >8% for 400 and 500nm particles and by 3.68{+/-}1.83 % for 1m particles. This was attributed to the dissipation of electrostatic charges on the masks when exposed to the alcohol vapor generated during hand disinfection. Simple practice of vapor-avoiding hand disinfection could mitigate the effects of alcohol vapor, which was demonstrated on two brands of surgical masks. The vapor-avoiding hand disinfection is recommended to be included in the hygiene guide to maintain the mask performance. Graphic abstract O_FIG O_LINKSMALLFIG WIDTH=200 HEIGHT=142 SRC="FIGDIR/small/20223982v1_ufig1.gif" ALT="Figure 1"> View larger version (21K): org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@16dc3a2org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@146d3e0org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@1003cb5org.highwire.dtl.DTLVardef@91b484_HPS_FORMAT_FIGEXP M_FIG C_FIG

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