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Personal Protective Equipment - Decontamination (Disinfection) of Single-Use Respirators

Can single use respirators be decontaminated?

Any examples are for illustrative purposes only.

NOTE:  Agencies, such as States, the CDC, FDA and other stakeholders, including safety organizations, have provided guidance on this practice.

When organizations are approaching crisis surge capacity and anticipate an inability to provide sufficient number of respirators to protect staff that will be involved in aerosol generating procedures,  the disinfection of single use respirators is an option when organizations have been in communication with local public health partners (e.g., public health emergency preparedness and response staff) and are still unable to obtain replacement supplies to match anticipated need.

In order to ensure healthcare worker safety, organizations should work with manufacturers to ensure that the decontamination process is compatible with the respirator components and how many times a respirator can be decontaminated safely. Organizations who are considering this process should develop a safe collection process to collect and hold used respirators while they explore an appropriate process. 

Additional Resources:
CDC:  Decontamination and Reuse of Filtering Facepiece Respirators using Contingency and Crisis Capacity Strategies
COVID-19 and Medical Devices: Safe Respirator Usage When Supplies Are Short
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Guidance and Resources

Organizations that use Joint Commission accreditation for deemed status purposes should monitor the CMS website as waivers are being approved frequently and may include state-specific waivers. Click here to access the CMS website.  
Last updated on July 26, 2021
Manual: Hospital and Hospital Clinics
Chapter: Infection Prevention and Control IC

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