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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

Senate retirements could attract GOP troublemakers

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.). Photo: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Roy Blunt's retirement highlights the twin challenge facing Senate Republicans: finding good replacement candidates and avoiding a pathway for potential troublemakers to join their ranks.

Why it matters: While the midterm elections are supposed to be a boon to the party out of power, the recent run of retirements — which may not be over — is upending that assumption for the GOP in 2022.

Congressional diversity growing - slowly

Data: Brookings Institution and Pew Research Center; Note: No data on Native Americans in Congress before the 107th Congress; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The number of non-white senators and House members in the 535-seat Congress has been growing steadily in the past several decades — but representation largely lags behind the overall U.S. population.

Why it matters: Non-whites find it harder to break into the power system because of structural barriers such as the need to quit a job to campaign full time for office, as Axios reported in its latest Hard Truths Deep Dive.

Staff for retiring Senate Republicans a K Street prize

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The retirements of high-profile Senate Republicans mean a lot of experienced staffers will soon be seeking new jobs, and Washington lobbying and public affairs firms are eyeing a potential glut of top-notch talent.

Why it matters: Roy Blunt is the fifth Republican dealmaker in the Senate to announce his retirement next year. Staffers left behind who can navigate the upper chamber of Congress will be gold for the city’s influence industry.