SOUTHINGTON – A local man is seeking help in building a device that uses ultraviolet rays and ozone to cleanse hospital masks so that they can be reused.
Nicholas Gustaviz said that he has created a small scale prototype of the device at his home and that he is looking for assistance in bringing it up to a larger scale.
“I have been experimenting for the last year-and-a-half with ozone and UV lights for house cleaning,” he said. “My wife is a nurse who works at a local hospital and when this pandemic broke out I began thinking about what I can do to help people out.”
Gustaviz said that UV wavelengths are germicidal. He has created a box with aluminum foil, which he said reflects those rays 360 degrees around masks placed inside. He said that similar material is used for firefighter uniforms and for space suits.
“When they interact with oxygen they create ozone which kills bacteria,” he said. “A lot of dentists are starting to use them as well. To clean hospital masks the prototype takes, generously, about 15 minutes. It works pretty quickly.”
Currently, the prototype box can hold 2 to 3 masks at a time. Gustaviz said he wants to create a version which can handle 10 to 20 at a time. He is looking for assistance in developing this large scale model. Gustaviz said that he believes his invention will be useful in a pandemic although he admits that there is a “lot of red tape” when concerning what can be used in hospitals.
“Time is of the essence; this has to happen sooner than later or by the time people decide that this is a good idea the hospitals may be hurting and low on masks,” he said. “The next 2 or 3 weeks are going to be hard. I want to figure out how to scale this box up so that it can become more efficient for hospitals to use.”
Gustaviz has posted about his idea on the Southington Talks Facebook page and he says he has also begun to reach out to local hospitals, such as the Bradley Memorial Campus of the Hospital of Central Connecticut, as well.
Chris Boyle, director of public relations with Bristol Health, said that he was informed by Bristol Health’s infection prevention staff that UV lights do a “great job” at disinfecting and are “very effective.” He said that they are typically used in conjunction with cleaning rather than as a standalone tool.
“It’s something that has use in a hospital setting and we’re starting to see it used in more and more hospitals,” Boyle said.
Shane Lockwood, of the Plainville-Southington Regional Health District, encouraged people to come up with ideas such as this.
“Ideas are great,” he said. “People are trying out lots of different ideas considering the mask shortage we have. If he is trying to get this idea approved he should go for it.”
Those who want to contact Gustaviz can do so by calling him at 413-358-8862 or emailing email@example.com.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.