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State Senator

Norm Needleman

Representing Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland and Westbrook

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Senator Needleman Visits Portland Business Developing Reusable Silicone Mask To Fight COVID-19

Silicone Mask Producer Developing Self-Adhering Mask With Replaceable Filter To Counter Healthcare PPE Shortages

Today, State Senator Norm Needleman (D-Essex) visited SilTec Labs in Portland, Connecticut to see firsthand the company’s innovative developments to help counter shortages of personal protective equipment, or PPE, in Connecticut healthcare facilities and beyond during the COVID-19 outbreak.

SilTec Labs which designs and manufactures silicone prosthetics for amputees, working with joint business Stickfx, which makes silicone masks originally for parties and Halloween costumes, are developing a silicone mask with a replaceable filter to protect health care workers.

The companies are working with Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory to craft a . Company representatives believe the latest prototypes will be able to provide protection like the current N95 respiratory mask, and better than existing surgical masks and homemade solutions, with a more secure seal overall. By using replaceable filters, these new masks could be safely used multiple times - even by different individuals, after being washed in soap and water or rubbed with alcohol. The reusable nature of this product will also reduce waste, providing environmental benefits.

"I am visiting SilTec Labs in person during the COVID-19 outbreak to stress the tremendous importance of these innovations," said Sen. Needleman. "Meaningful and timely breakthroughs like this are crucial to flattening the curve of the coronavirus. I am proud to say their Yankee ingenuity has great potential to protect and save lives while minimizing the use of disposable materials. It's crucial we get this product into broad distribution as quickly as possible."

Representatives said while their long-term objective was to provide a superior alternative to existing medical masks, but given COVID-19 pandemic, they shifted focus in the hope to immediately provide an alternative to the current medical masks, and a significant upgrade from homemade cotton masks and bandanas. With a rather modest amount of private and or public investment SilTec Labs estimates initial large-scale production could start within 6 days at a rate of 3,500+ masks per day.

To see this work in real time, a video is available here.

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