Are surgical masks manufactured from sterilisation wrap safe?
AuthorGrigg, SE; Zampiron, A; Akbaridoust, F; Chandran, D; Holmes, NE; Johnson, PDR; Marusic, I; Jones, D
Source TitleInfection, Disease && Health
University of Melbourne Author/sZampiron, Andrea; Marusic, Ivan; Holmes, Natasha; Akbaridoust, Farzan; Jones, Daryl; Johnson, Paul; Padinjare Muttikkal, Dileep Chandran
Medicine and Radiology
Surgery (Austin & Northern Health)
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsGrigg, S. E., Zampiron, A., Akbaridoust, F., Chandran, D., Holmes, N. E., Johnson, P. D. R., Marusic, I. & Jones, D. (2021). Are surgical masks manufactured from sterilisation wrap safe?. INFECTION DISEASE & HEALTH, 26 (2), pp.104-109. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.idh.2020.11.001.
Access StatusAccess this item via the Open Access location
Open Access URLPublished version
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7674969
BACKGROUND: Due to regional shortages some health services have proposed using surgical masks manufactured from sterilisation wrap. However, there has been little assessment of the safety of this practice. Therefore, we developed our own prototypes and evaluated whether they met regulatory standards. METHODS: Surgical mask prototypes were manufactured from two thickness grades of commercial sterilisation wrap. Safety was assessed in the context of regulatory standards. As it was not previously reported, we developed and performed differential pressure and synthetic blood penetration resistance experiments in accordance with official methodology. RESULTS: Bacterial filtration efficiency was comparable between sterilisation wrap and commercial surgical masks. Both prototypes met regulatory standards for synthetic blood resistance, whilst only our thinner mask fulfilled acceptable differential pressure ('breathability') thresholds. CONCLUSION: Acceptable barrier and breathability properties can be achieved with surgical masks produced from sterilisation wrap. Therefore, this may be a reasonable method to supplement stock if required. Unless there are shortages mandating alternatives, health-care workers should always use approved personal protective equipment.
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