Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Evaluation of Protection Level and Safety of Commercially Available Snorkel Masks as Personal Protection Devices against Aerosolized Contaminants and SARS-CoV2

Version 1 : Received: 21 May 2020 / Approved: 23 May 2020 / Online: 23 May 2020 (10:18:39 CEST)
Version 2 : Received: 28 June 2020 / Approved: 30 June 2020 / Online: 30 June 2020 (07:43:58 CEST)

How to cite: Germonpre, P.; Van Rompaey, D.; Balestra, C. Evaluation of Protection Level and Safety of Commercially Available Snorkel Masks as Personal Protection Devices against Aerosolized Contaminants and SARS-CoV2. Preprints 2020, 2020050368 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202005.0368.v1). Germonpre, P.; Van Rompaey, D.; Balestra, C. Evaluation of Protection Level and Safety of Commercially Available Snorkel Masks as Personal Protection Devices against Aerosolized Contaminants and SARS-CoV2. Preprints 2020, 2020050368 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202005.0368.v1).

Abstract

Introduction: The SARS-CoV2 pandemic has led to an 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.

Subject Areas

SARS-CoV2; personal protection devices; snorkel masks; safety test

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