Media & Resources

DEI Develops Protective Mask in Response to COVID-19 PPE Shortages

As a company that specializes in the design of custom filtration equipment for nuclear power and waste management applications, one might ask – why is DEI developing protective masks? Well, it turns out much of our design and filtration expertise is directly applicable to the current need for unconventional masks dictated by the COVID-19 pandemic and we felt compelled to donate our skills and resources in order to be part of the solution.

In response to shortages in NIOSH-approved PPE during the COVID-19 crisis, DEI developed a custom filter insert adaptor that can be used to convert a standard snorkel mask into a reusable, full face respirator that effectively protects the eyes, nose and mouth from airborne particles. While experimental in nature, these masks provide effective protection for healthcare workers and first responders who lack access to N95 respirators and approved filter cartridges.

These converted masks and custom adaptors are reusable and utilize consumable filter inserts that can be replaced as needed. The filter insert material is conventionally used as a fabric/netting to contain blown insulation, but is effective in capturing >99% of airborne particulate of interest and most importantly, this material is readily available and can be used to quickly produce large quantities of consumable filter inserts now. DEI has conducted confirmatory testing to demonstrate that these converted masks passed a standard mask fit test and, along with the selected filter insert material, provide a level of protection equivalent to or exceeding that of an N95 respirator when worn properly.

As part of ongoing humanitarian efforts, DEI continues to donate these masks and consumable filter inserts to healthcare workers and first responders in need in New York City, Los Angeles, and Veracruz, Mexico, as well as locally here in Northern VA.