American Chemical Society
eg3c00036_si_001.pdf (1.37 MB)

Emissions from Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfection and Their Interaction with Mask Surfaces

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journal contribution
posted on 2024-01-09, 17:06 authored by Pearl Abue, Nirvan Bhattacharyya, Mengjia Tang, Leif G. Jahn, Daniel Blomdahl, David T. Allen, Richard L. Corsi, Atila Novoselac, Pawel K. Mistzal, Lea Hildebrandt Ruiz
A rise in the disinfection of spaces occurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as an increase in people wearing facial coverings. Hydrogen peroxide was among the recommended disinfectants for use against the virus. Previous studies have investigated the emissions of hydrogen peroxide associated with the disinfection of spaces and masks; however, those studies did not focus on the emitted byproducts from these processes. Here, we simulate the disinfection of an indoor space with H2O2 while a person wearing a face mask is present in the space by using an environmental chamber with a thermal manikin wearing a face mask over its breathing zone. We injected hydrogen peroxide to disinfect the space and utilized a chemical ionization mass spectrometer (CIMS) to measure the primary disinfectant (H2O2) and a Vocus proton transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer (Vocus PTR-ToF-MS) to measure the byproducts from disinfection, comparing concentrations inside the chamber and behind the mask. Concentrations of the primary disinfectant and the byproducts inside the chamber and behind the mask remained elevated above background levels for 2–4 h after disinfection, indicating the possibility of extended exposure, especially when continuing to wear the mask. Overall, our results point toward the time-dependent impact of masks on concentrations of disinfectants and their byproducts and a need for regular mask change following exposure to high concentrations of chemical compounds.