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How ChemEs Can Help with the Shortage of PPE

  • 1.  How ChemEs Can Help with the Shortage of PPE

    Posted 4 days ago

    I'm the managing editor of Chemical Engineering Progress (CEP) and yesterday we received an email requesting PPE on behalf of Bellevue Hospital, which is in NYC, the U.S. epicenter of COVID-19. 

    Given that many chemical engineers use PPE, after receiving this email, our head of communications wrote this blog post sharing some easy ways to find donation locations, request a donation, or become a "maker" of PPE.  

    Many of our members may already be helping within their local communities or may know of other ways to help. I'd like for you to share your stories. 

    Have you donated PPE in your local area? 

    Do you have other suggestions for PPE resources (worldwide or U.S.)? 



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    Emily Petruzzelli
    Managing Editor, CEP Magazine
    AIChE
    New York NY
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  • 2.  RE: How ChemEs Can Help with the Shortage of PPE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 4 days ago
    Obvious, but maybe useful, would be considering the use of forced air respirator hoods used in sand blasting and spray painting.  The air supply is brought in from a breathing air compressor system.  We engineers know them well - frightening and a bit awkward to lay people but robust (VERY) and long lived.  Obviously for the front line medical worker.  More practical than the full breathing air systems (aka Scott Air Paks) that most of us in the CPI are trained to use.

    Also the frac sand folks have used N95 masks to combat silicosis hazards (and hate them).  There might be supplies of industrial versions unused in the Eagleford and the Permian basin warehouses at this particular time.  But 3M would know and they may well have already redirected such inventories.

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    Ed Kronenberger MS
    Missouri City TX
    EdwardEdwardEdward
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  • 3.  RE: How ChemEs Can Help with the Shortage of PPE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 3 days ago
    May I share the thread to the Philippine Institute of Chemical Engineers (PIChE)?

    --
    Manuel I. Gloria, Jr.
    Principal Consultant

    Aquatreat Environmental Systems Inc.
    Unit 12-D Bellamaja G/F
    411 Aglipay St.
    Mandaluyong City
    PHILIPPINES 1550
    Tel. Nos. +63 (2) 532-1446, 532-1451, and 532-1474
    Fax Nos. +63 (2) 532-1474 and 532-1451
    Mobile: +63 (917) 830-9255+63 (917) 830-9255 and +63 (922) 830-9255+63 (922) 830-9255
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  • 4.  RE: How ChemEs Can Help with the Shortage of PPE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 2 days ago
    I would be pleased!  I assumed that sharing was always encouraged from this site...

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    Ed Kronenberger MS
    Missouri City TX
    EdwardEdwardEdward
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  • 5.  RE: How ChemEs Can Help with the Shortage of PPE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 3 days ago
    I have to agree with Mr. Kronenberger. The use of breathing air compressor systems could definitely help the situation of PPE shortage. They could be specially usefull in those areas of the hospital where a major concentration of infected patients exist, by providing a centralized system where the healthcare personnel could hook up via reusable equipment, instead of the current procedure of using disposable masks.

    The breathing air compressor systems include a breathing air dryer unit that can be easily modified to host different adsobents/catalysts within the line that can neutralize any micoorganism that could enter the sytem.

    Another separate but similar application for the same system could be to help produce "negative pressure" environments. These are extensively used in hospitals, but their use is limited to small spaces, such as single patient rooms. Applying the same technique to larger spaces by upsizing the compressor should be a fairly easy installation and will definitely assist in reducing the virus load in closed spaces.

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    Francisco Castro Cara
    Research and Development Engineer
    SPX Flow
    Ocala FL
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  • 6.  RE: How ChemEs Can Help with the Shortage of PPE

    SENIOR MEMBER
    Posted 2 days ago
    Seems time to resurrect the idea of reusable PPE. Not too long ago, masks, face-shields, gowns, etc would be laundered or cleaned, and sterilized after each use. This would certainly reduce the demand for one and done, disposable medical supplies. Must admit, I do not know the availability of laundry services for hospitals…maybe dry cleaners? Is it time to refocus on durable and possibly even more effective PPE for our first responders and health care specialists?

    What do you think? Stay safe and healthy!

    RP Hohmann [semi-retired Process Engineer…San Francisco Bay Area]




  • 7.  RE: How ChemEs Can Help with the Shortage of PPE

    Posted 2 days ago
    Robert, thanks for your response. You make a good point. Being able to safely reuse PPE would certainly mitigate many of the issues that hospitals are facing. I think a major issue right now is that medical professionals are being forced to reuse PPE that is not meant to be reused. This wired article is very informative (and alarming): https://www.wired.com/story/coronavirus-covid-19-healthcare-risks-equipment/

    In a world where so much of our medical equipment is single-use for good reason, the cleaning routine of any reusable PPE would need to completely eliminate the risk of cross-contamination between uses/patients.

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    Emily Petruzzelli
    Managing Editor, CEP Magazine
    AIChE
    New York NY
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