Can sustainability efforts help alleviate PPE shortages?

Andrea L. Breaux




Posted on Tuesday 23rd June 2020
Sustainability and Personal Protective Equipment

The COVID-19 pandemic came without warning and completely overwhelmed the medical community and the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) supply.  Just as overwhelming is the sheer volume of PPE needed to deal with COVID-19.  In March the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that, each month, 89 million medical masks, 76 million examination gloves and 1.6 goggles will be needed during the global COVID-19 response.  Four months later, the PPE manufacturing and logistics network industry is facing a shortage that is predicted to worsen. Today, many hospitals are down to one week’s supply of PPE and don’t know when they will receive more. To address the shortage of PPE resources sustainability is a timely application to be used for PPE preservation.

In an effort to address the limited PPE supplies, the healthcare industry is following the current CDC methods for Decontamination and Reuse of Filtering Facepiece Respirators including:

  • Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI)
  • Vaporous hydrogen peroxide (VHP)
  • Moist heat
  • Steam treatment
  • Liquid hydrogen peroxide
  • Ethylene oxide

In response to the shortage of respirators such as N95s the FDA said “in emergency response circumstances such as an emerging infectious disease (pandemic influenza, for example) or intentional release of a biological threat agent, reuse of these respirators may be necessary to maintain adequate supplies.” The disinfected masks have the same filtering quality as a new N95.

Action taken now to address the shortage of PPE supplies, including respirators, during the COVID-19 pandemic can enhance the foundation for long-term sustainability efforts to reduce medical waste.

Having Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in US warehouses is a huge advantage for volume buyers. PPE Source International had the experience and the focus to help end users, distributors, and resellers with KN95 Masks, and other PPE, including civilian KN95 Masks, gloves and gel hand sanitizer in a range of sizes.

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