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Packaging for On-Site Fumigation and Transport of Category A Virus Contaminated Materials


Currently available packaging for non-hospital Ebola and other Category A wastes is impermeable to fumigants, and not amenable to large and bulky items, which limits the ability to use on-site waste treatment. There needs to be a way to package large and small contaminated items in a building (either with bagging or wrapping) and take them to where they can be treated without workers having to re-open the bags.

On-site treatment would dramatically reduce the need for special transportation permits to access off-site treatment facilities. This would reduce the number and size of packing containers; the effort to pack, load, and unload them; the number, size, and fuel usage of transport vehicles; landfill usage; incineration operation; risk associated with transporting the waste; and costs.

There are three components of an on-site treatment system:

  1. The first is having a semi-permeable packaging material that will enable the entry and exit of fumigants, be non-bulky, be flexible, be able to withstand the fumigation conditions, and not permit contaminants (viral and/or bacterial) to escape. An analogous material could be the bags used for ethylene oxide sterilization chambers.
  2. The second is having effective fumigants that can pass through the packaging material and disinfect the contaminated thing in the package. (Examples of Class A fumigants include: chlorine dioxide, hydrogen peroxide, methyl bromide, and formaldehyde.)
  3. The third is having a fumigant delivery and removal system that includes both effective fumigants and the equipment and other materials required to deliver, treat, recover, and dispose of used fumigants. The design of the delivery system would depend on the fumigant that is used.

Demonstration of this technology is an important step towards commercialization. Demonstration of the desired performance of the materials, using the criteria described above, using wastes contaminated with Category A infectious agents or appropriate surrogates thereof, appropriate fumigants, and one or more delivery systems. To validate performance, EPA testing procedures can be used.

Demonstrations should use bags made of the developed material that have been filled with contaminated items that are larger (and preferably a lot larger) than a bread box or a doll house.

Topic Code 4B: Packaging for On-Site Fumigation and Transport of Category A Virus Contaminated Materials. Develop non-bulky waste packaging materials for on-site waste treatment that enable penetration of gaseous decontaminants and high temperature steam into the waste packages while preventing escape of the contaminants (viral and/or bacterial) (without requiring workers to open the waste packages).

The membrane/packaging material must not allow minor amounts of liquids or solids to escape. It should be rugged enough for normal handling procedures by workers in personal protective equipment (PPE). It should survive external decontamination with a dilute (10%) bleach solution. It should maintain its integrity after fumigation. It should be cost effective—i.e., marketable. The on-site treatment should dramatically reduce transportation requirements for waste requiring off-site treatment and disposal. It should reduce the size of the waste containers and special permits required for off-site transportation.

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