FDA eases restrictions on mask-sterilization technology

FDA eases restrictions on mask-sterilization technology

COLUMBUS, OH — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine Sunday afternoon said federal officials have promised to ease restrictions on a technology to clean and reuse the masks deemed the safest for healthcare workers and first responders in the coronavirus outbreak.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Steve Hahn told DeWine that “this would be cleared up today,” DeWine said at a Sunday afternoon press conference.

It comes after DeWine issued an angry press release in which he said the FDA was “reckless” for sharply limiting the number of protective masks Columbus-based research firm Battelle can sterilize using a process it developed.

Officials are scrambling for the N95 masks and other protective equipment for health care workers as the number of COVID-19 cases is expected to spike over the coming months. On Saturday, DeWine publicly pleaded with the FDA to approve an emergency-use permit for Battelle’s technology amid a shortage of personal protective equipment, including masks.

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