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Evaluation of Protection Level, Respiratory Safety, and Practical Aspects of Commercially Available Snorkel Masks as Personal Protection Devices Against Aerosolized Contaminants and SARS-CoV2.
Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 19; 17(12)IJ

Abstract

Introduction: The "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2″ (SARS-CoV2) pandemic has led to a worldwide shortage of personal protection devices (PPD) for medical and paramedical personnel. Adaptation of commercially available snorkel masks to serve as full face masks has been proposed. Even not formally approved as PPD, they are publicized on social media as suitable for this use. Concerns about actual protection levels and risk of carbon dioxide (CO2) accumulation while wearing them for extended periods made us perform a systematic testing of various brands, in order to verify whether they are as safe and effective as claimed.

Methods:

A 'fit' test was performed, analogous to gas mask testing. Respiratory safety was evaluated by measuring end-tidal CO2 and oxygen saturation while wearing the masks in rest and during physical exercise. Masks were tested with 3D adaptors to mount regular bacterial-viral ventilator filters when available, or with snorkel openings covered with N95/FFP2 cloth.

Results:

Modified masks performed reasonably well on the fit test, comparable to regular N95/FFP2 masks. Not all ventilator filters are equally protective. For all masks, a small initial increase in end-tidal CO2 was noted, remaining within physiological limits. 3D printed adaptors are safer, have more flexibility and reliability than makeshift adaptations.

Conclusions:

These masks can offer benefit as a substitute for complete protective gear as they are easier to don and remove and offer full-face protection. They may be more comfortable to wear for extended periods. Proper selection of mask size, fit testing, quality of 3D printed parts, and choice of filter are important.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Centre for Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Military Hospital Brussels, 1120 Brussels, Belgium. DAN Europe Research Department, 64026 Roseto, Italy.Defence Laboratories DLD, Kwartier Maj Housiau, 1800 Vilvoorde, Belgium.DAN Europe Research Department, 64026 Roseto, Italy. Environmental & Occupational, Ageing (Integrative) Physiology Lab, Haute Ecole Bruxelles-Brabant (HE2B), 1160 Auderghem, Belgium. Motor Sciences Department, Physical Activity Teaching Unit, Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), 1050 Brussels, Belgium.

Pub Type(s)

Evaluation Study
Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

32575366

Citation

Germonpre, Peter, et al. "Evaluation of Protection Level, Respiratory Safety, and Practical Aspects of Commercially Available Snorkel Masks as Personal Protection Devices Against Aerosolized Contaminants and SARS-CoV2." International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 17, no. 12, 2020.
Germonpre P, Van Rompaey D, Balestra C. Evaluation of Protection Level, Respiratory Safety, and Practical Aspects of Commercially Available Snorkel Masks as Personal Protection Devices Against Aerosolized Contaminants and SARS-CoV2. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020;17(12).
Germonpre, P., Van Rompaey, D., & Balestra, C. (2020). Evaluation of Protection Level, Respiratory Safety, and Practical Aspects of Commercially Available Snorkel Masks as Personal Protection Devices Against Aerosolized Contaminants and SARS-CoV2. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(12). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124347
Germonpre P, Van Rompaey D, Balestra C. Evaluation of Protection Level, Respiratory Safety, and Practical Aspects of Commercially Available Snorkel Masks as Personal Protection Devices Against Aerosolized Contaminants and SARS-CoV2. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jun 19;17(12) PubMed PMID: 32575366.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - Evaluation of Protection Level, Respiratory Safety, and Practical Aspects of Commercially Available Snorkel Masks as Personal Protection Devices Against Aerosolized Contaminants and SARS-CoV2. AU - Germonpre,Peter, AU - Van Rompaey,Dirk, AU - Balestra,Costantino, Y1 - 2020/06/19/ PY - 2020/05/15/received PY - 2020/06/12/revised PY - 2020/06/15/accepted PY - 2020/6/25/entrez PY - 2020/6/25/pubmed PY - 2020/9/20/medline KW - SARS-CoV2 KW - personal protection devices KW - safety test KW - snorkel masks JF - International journal of environmental research and public health JO - Int J Environ Res Public Health VL - 17 IS - 12 N2 - Introduction: The "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2″ (SARS-CoV2) pandemic has led to a worldwide shortage of personal protection devices (PPD) for medical and paramedical personnel. Adaptation of commercially available snorkel masks to serve as full face masks has been proposed. Even not formally approved as PPD, they are publicized on social media as suitable for this use. Concerns about actual protection levels and risk of carbon dioxide (CO2) accumulation while wearing them for extended periods made us perform a systematic testing of various brands, in order to verify whether they are as safe and effective as claimed. Methods: A 'fit' test was performed, analogous to gas mask testing. Respiratory safety was evaluated by measuring end-tidal CO2 and oxygen saturation while wearing the masks in rest and during physical exercise. Masks were tested with 3D adaptors to mount regular bacterial-viral ventilator filters when available, or with snorkel openings covered with N95/FFP2 cloth. Results: Modified masks performed reasonably well on the fit test, comparable to regular N95/FFP2 masks. Not all ventilator filters are equally protective. For all masks, a small initial increase in end-tidal CO2 was noted, remaining within physiological limits. 3D printed adaptors are safer, have more flexibility and reliability than makeshift adaptations. Conclusions: These masks can offer benefit as a substitute for complete protective gear as they are easier to don and remove and offer full-face protection. They may be more comfortable to wear for extended periods. Proper selection of mask size, fit testing, quality of 3D printed parts, and choice of filter are important. SN - 1660-4601 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/32575366/Evaluation_of_Protection_Level_Respiratory_Safety_and_Practical_Aspects_of_Commercially_Available_Snorkel_Masks_as_Personal_Protection_Devices_Against_Aerosolized_Contaminants_and_SARS_CoV2_ L2 - https://www.mdpi.com/resolver?pii=ijerph17124347 DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -