BATTLE CREEK, Mich. –
Materials Examiner and Identifier Shawn Guy made a valuable find March 26 when he discovered 2,680 N95 masks at the Defense Logistics Agency property disposal site at Camp Pendleton, California.
Pendleton employees had been looking for items that could potentially help fight COVID-19 when Guy recognized the name of a medical device manufacturer he’d encountered in a previous job on the side of some boxes. Inside, Guy found masks that had been turned in to DLA Disposition Services after exceeding the manufacturer’s recommended shelf life. Knowing masks are in high demand, Guy informed his supervisor and local property disposal area manager, Luis Guzman, who then went to work researching whether the masks were still useable.
“I first contacted the manufacturers to ask them what their coding was on their tags because it did not specify exactly when it was expired,” Guzman said.
Armed with the answer, he contacted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and was told the masks could be used except in surgical settings. According to the CDC, expired N95 masks provide greater protection than mouth and nose covers such as bandannas.
The masks have been evaluated by DLA Troop Support and offered to Naval Hospital Camp Pendleton, which is in the process of acquiring them.
“It makes me feel really good, you know?” Guy said. “What I do here at DLA directly impacts the hospital on base.”