PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — A local company has developed a new alternative to the traditional N95 mask.
Reusable Respirators LLC, a subsidiary of Applied Research Associates, has received regulatory approval from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) for their “Elastomaskpro”.
This single reusable mask can replace thousands of disposable N95 masks.
But this project has been in the works long before COVID-19 came around.
“We started thinking about this after the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, and we knew at that time, there would be a shortage of respirators if we ever got to a severe pandemic,” Reusable Respirators LLC. Vice President Brian Heimbuch said. “So, we put together collective thoughts and worked with industries from all over the world to come up with a really unique solution.”
It took four years since conception for the “Elastomaskpro” to be approved.
“The testing and evaluation for the ElastoMarkPro has been extensive,” Heimbuch said. “We’ve done a tremendous amount of fit testing, testing the durability of the device, testing on the capability of the device in workplace settings. So, we’re just confident this is going to be the right solution for frontline workers.”
The mask is unique in the way that it seals to your face preventing glasses from fogging up while still being breathable.
The current climate has proven to be challenging as far as lead time and supply chain issues, but officials are optimistic about the future regardless.
“Now that we’ve got our NIOSH approval, now that we’ve got our regulatory approval and able to move forward, it’s about ordering products, getting it in-house,” Program Manager Del Harnish said. “What we do here is a lot of the quality inspection stuff so making sure we are putting a good quality product out on the market for the users to use.”
The company wants to ramp up production from 5,000 to 20,000 respirators a month in the next four to six months.