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Researchers Found a Way to Clean N95 Masks for Reuse — in a Common Electric Cooker



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SubscriptionThe request for help reached Thanh H. Nguyen in March, just as the novel coronavirus had begun to ravage the United States, overwhelming hospitals with scores of infectious patients. Could Nguyen, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and her colleagues assist local health-care providers with shortages of critical personal protective equipment?

“One thing they mentioned right at the very beginning is the N95 respirator mask, because that is a crucial, essential piece of PPE,” Nguyen said. “They already told us that the price has been really high, it’s hard to get, they have to recycle instead. They don’t know how to do it safely.”

So Nguyen and Vishal Verma, an assistant professor in the same department, got to work examining various technologies and chemicals. But it wasn’t long before another question emerged: What about people who can’t access lab-grade materials and machinery?

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