Decades of research lead to a better solution.
With advancements in science and technology, who would have thought the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic could stricken the healthcare system and leave a shortage of N95 respirators? The spread of COVID-19 seemed to take the world by surprise. While the concept of a pandemic was new to the general public, researchers who developed ElastoMaskPro began investigating a solution to address a potential supply shortage more than 15 years ago. Our research for a pandemic protection solution involved close collaboration with government, industry, and academia. We led laboratory and outreach studies with frontline workers to understand their needs and preferences.
The idea for ElastoMaskPro was conceived following the H1N1 pandemic in 2009. We wanted to develop a respirator specifically designed for frontline workers and their environment. It had to be easy to use and breathe through, lightweight, simple to disinfect, reusable thousands of times, provide a large visual field, and have no exhalation valve.
It’s easy to conceive innovation, but the true challenge is making it reality. Bringing ElastoMaskPro to fruition required novel materials, tooling, and processes, along with expertise from government partners and industries around the world. ElastoMaskPro received approval from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in January 2022. Having reached this milestone, Reusable Respirators, LLC, the manufacturer of ElastoMaskPro, began full-scale production to offer the highest quality respiratory protection available to frontline workers.
The Reusable Respirators research team acquired the following patent:
US PATENT NO. 10,835,704. Reusable Respiratory Protection Device.
The Reusable Respirators research team authored or contributed to these articles.
- Bergman M., EM Fisher, BK Heimbuch. A Review of Decontamination Methods for Filtering Facepiece Respirators, Journal of the International Society for Respiratory Protection, 2020;37(2):71-86.
- Nemeth C., D Laufersweiler, E Polander, C Orvis, D Harnish, M O’Connor, S Hymes, S Nachman, BK Heimbuch. Preparing for an Influenza Pandemic: Hospital Acceptance Study of Filtering Facepiece Respirator Decontamination Using Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation, Journal of Patient Safety, 2020:16(2); 117-122.
- Mills D., DA Harnish, C Lawrence, M S-Powers, BK Heimbuch. Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation of Influenza-Contaminated N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators, American Journal of Infection Control, 2018 Jul;46(7): e49-e55.
- Lawrence CL, DA Harnish, M S-Powers, D Mills, M Bergman, BK Heimbuch. Assessment of Half-Mask Elastomeric Respirators for an Influenza Pandemic. American Journal of Infection Control, 2017:45(12); 1324-1330.
- Harnish DA, BK Heimbuch, C Balzli, M Choe, AE Lumley, RE Shaffer, JD Wander. Capture of 0.1 μm Aerosol Particles Containing Viable H1N1 Influenza Virus by N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators. Journal of Environmental and Occupational Hygiene, 2016:13(3); D46-49.
- Heimbuch BK, W Wallace, CL Balzli, ML Laning, DA Harnish, JD Wander. Bioaerosol Exposure to Personnel in a Clinical Environment Absent Patients. Journal of Environmental and Occupational Hygiene, 2016:13(2);D11-D15.
- Bergman SD, X He, ME Joseph, Z Zhuang, BK Heimbuch, RE Shaffer, M Choe and JD Wander. Correlation of Respirator Fit Measured on Human Subjects and a Static Advanced Headform. Journal of Environmental and Occupational Hygiene, 2015: 12(3);163-71.
- Heimbuch BK, K Kinney, AE Lumley, D Harnish, M Bergman, JD Wander. Cleaning of Filtering Facepiece Respirators Contaminated with Mucin and Staphylococcus aureus. American Journal of Infection Control, 2014;42(3):265-270.
- Bergman MS, Z Zhuang, D Hanson, BK Heimbuch, MJ McDonald, A Palmiero, RE Shaffer, D Harnish, M Husband, and JD Wander. Development of an Advanced Respirator Fit Test Headform. Journal of Environmental and Occupational Hygiene, 2014;11(2):117-125.
- Harnish DA, BK Heimbuch, M Husband, AE Lumley, K Kinney, RE Shaffer, JD Wander. Challenge of N95 Filtering Facepiece Respirators with Viable H1N1 Influenza Aerosols. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology, 2013;34(5):494-499.
- McDonald RS, AR Sambol, BK Heimbuch, TL Brown, SH Hinrichs, JD Wander, Proportional mouse model for aerosol infection by Influenza, Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2012;113:767-778.
- Stone BR, BK Heimbuch, C-Y Wu2, JD Wander, Design, construction and validation of a nose-only inhalation exposure system to measure infectivity of filtered bioaerosols in mice, Journal of Applied Microbiology, 2012;113:757-766.
- Lore MB, BK Heimbuch, TL Brown, JD Wander, SH Hinrichs, Effectiveness of Three Decontamination Treatments against Influenza Virus Applied to Filtering Facepiece Respirators. Annals of Occupational Hygiene, 2012;56(1):92-101.
- Heimbuch BK, WH Wallace, K Kinney, AE Lumley, C-Y Wu , M-H Woo, J. D. Wander, A Pandemic Influenza Preparedness Study: Use of Energetic Methods to Decontaminate Filtering Facepiece Respirators Contaminated with H1N1 Aerosols and Droplets, American Journal of Infection Control, 2010;38(1):3-8.
- Salter WB, Kinney K, Wallace WH, Lumley AE, Heimbuch BK, Wander JD. Analysis of Residual Chemicals on Filtering Facepiece Respirators after Decontamination. Journal of Environmental and Occupational Hygiene, 2010;7(8):437–445.
- Bergman MS, DJ Viscusi, BK Heimbuch, JD Wander, AR Sambol, RE Shaffer, Evaluation of Multiple (3-Cycle) Decontamination Processing for Filtering Facepiece Respirators, Journal of Engineered Fibers and Fabrics, 2010; 5(4):34-41.
- Woo MH, Y-M Hsu, CY Wu, BK Heimbuch, JD Wander, Method for Contamination of Filtering Facepiece Respirators by Deposition of MS2 Viral Aerosols. Journal of Aerosol Science, 2010; 41(10): 944-952.
The Reusable Respirators research team developed these testing and materials standards which were adopted by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International.
ASTM E3179-18: Standard Method for Determining Antimicrobial Efficacy of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation against Influenza Virus on Fabric Carriers with Simulated Soil. 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken (PA) 19428-2959.2012.
ASTM E3135-18: Standard Practice for Determining Antimicrobial Efficacy of Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation Against Microorganisms on Carriers with Simulated Soil. 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken (PA) 19428-2959.2012.
ASTM E2720-10: Standard test method for effectiveness of decontamination of air-permeable materials challenged with biological aerosols containing human pathogenic viruses. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken (PA) 19428-2959. 2010.
ASTM E2721-10: Standard test method of evaluating of the effectiveness of decontamination procedures for surfaces when challenged with droplets containing human pathogenic viruses. American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) International, 100 Barr Harbor Drive, West Conshohocken (PA) 19428-2959. 2010.