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Battelle system can disinfect 85,000 N95 masks a day by running them through a hydrogen peroxide-based system that looks like a shipping container.

COURTESY PHOTO: THE LUND REPORT/BATTELLE - N95 respirators are staged for disinfection in a Battelle Critical Care Decontamination System.Federal authorities have allotted Oregon a mask-disinfecting system to help health care providers stretch supplies of personal protective gear.

The Battelle system can disinfect 85,000 N95 masks a day by running them through a hydrogen peroxide-based system that looks like a container. Battelle is deploying 60 of these so-called critical care decontamination systems throughout the United States. Oregon obtained one through a contract with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Battelle will operate the system with a crew of about 20 staff. The operation will be based in Eugene so it can disinfect masks from several areas of the state, said Erica Euen, a spokesperson for the COVID-19 Joint Information Center.

Gov. Kate Brown said the Battelle system will help the state clean masks in a safe, environmentally friendly way. The Battelle system is an example of the state's efforts to bolster its resources of personal protective equipment, Brown said in a news conference last week.

Battelle will not charge Oregon health care responders to disinfect their masks. FEMA will cover the contractor's costs of staffing the system and shipping it to Oregon from Ohio. A longtime federal and commercial contractor, Battelle, is based in Columbus, Ohio, and started in 1929. The company's portfolio includes research to protect military personnel from chemical and biological attacks, medical research and environmental projects.

This Lund Report story is shared as part of a local media project to increase COVID-19 news coverage.

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