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Technicians in protective clothing do a dry run at Battelle's Critical Care Decontamination System in New York. Photo: John Paraskevas/Newsday RM via Getty Images

Battelle, an Ohio nonprofit research and development firm, has employees working to disinfect thousands of face masks used by health care workers during the coronavirus pandemic, The New York Times reports.

Why it matters: There is a shortage of personal protective equipment, even as companies from fashion and tech industries are stepping up to manufacture masks.

The state of play: Battelle typically works on a range of products such as robotics and oil drilling.

  • Battelle is training new employees so they can set up decontamination sites in Long Island, Seattle, Boston, Washington, D.C. and other cities.

How it works: Battelle receives N95 masks from more than 100 hospitals, clinics, fire departments and nursing homes that are treated with hydrogen peroxide vapor, per the Times.

  • Masks are inspected before they are processed. Roughly 90% can be disinfected.
  • 50,000 masks are taken into the decontamination chamber per cycle, and workers make sure the masks don't overlap.
  • Workers are sprayed with a 70% alcohol solution after they exit the chamber.
  • A hydrogen peroxide generator releases a vapor to neutralize the coronavirus and other contaminants.
  • The masks are inspected after four hours for harmful levels of residual hydrogen peroxide before they are packaged and sent back.

Go deeper: The race to make more masks and ventilators

Go deeper

3 hours ago - Health

Biden administration to lift travel ban for fully vaccinated international travelers

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients announced on Monday that the Biden administration will allow fully vaccinated travelers from around the world to enter the U.S. beginning in November.

Why it matters: The announcement comes as President Biden seeks commitments from countries to donate vaccines to the global COVAX initiative. He is expected to host a COVID summit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this week, and many of the countries attending have expressed frustration with the travel ban.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
4 hours ago - Economy & Business

Gen Z breaks into VC

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When Meagan Loyst joined VC firm Lerer Hippeau, less than two years out of Boston College, she was still living with her parents. She had virtually no online brand presence, and the pandemic made it impossible to build a professional network via in-person meetings.

Why it matters: Loyst wasn't alone. Venture firms have accelerated hiring in line with record deal activity, often seeking younger investors who can spot trends that fly below the radar (or intrinsic understanding) of older partners.

White House aims to protect workers from extreme heat

Two pear pickers in Hood River, Ore. on Aug. 13. Photo: Michael Hanson/AFP via Getty Images

The White House announced a slew of actions Monday, including the start of a rule-making process at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), to protect American workers from extreme heat.

Driving the news: The U.S. just had its hottest summer on record, with triple-digit-temperatures killing hundreds in the Pacific Northwest and exposing outdoor workers to dangerous conditions.