Texas Tech University

Materials Sterilization

A major concern in the reuse of masks is prolonged longevity of the pathogen. According to Carolyn Machamer, a cell biologist and professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, the SARS-CoV-2 virus can survive on plastic surfaces for up to 72-hours (Volkin, 2020). A commonplace sterilization technique used in the medical field is extended exposure to hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) vapor (Talapa, 2017). There are, however, problems with H2O2 vapor in that during the evaporative process it can tear and damage non-rigid surfaces.

An alternative sterilization method currently being explored is the use of a 30 W germicidal UV lamp, such as those manufactured by Cole-Parmer. The Center has ordered this product in addition to radiation dosimeters, which will be used to assess when the PPE has been adequately exposed to the 254 nm wavelength.