PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Revolutionary, innovative, and made right here in Pennsylvania. A new virus-killing face shield hopes to change the way we think about disposable masks.
CBS Pittsburgh reporter Meghan Schiller discovered the face shield’s success relied on an invention born inside what locals call The Foam Factory.READ MORE: Thieves Steal ATM From West Philadelphia Laundromat
Its innovation spans both ends of the turnpike. A company in Exton created this face mask and it only works because of foam invented about an hour north of Pittsburgh.
This sparkling clean, colorful warehouse is Bergad Specialty Foams, and those little blue circles are unlike any other foam in the world.
“Many of our customers will come to us looking for a material that doesn’t exist,” Bergad’s Specialty Foams owner Paul Bergad said.
Bergad’s company invents medical foams and foams for electronics that stay cool.
So when Ramshield Inc. called about making a brand-new face shield, Bergad embraced the challenge.
“They needed a material they could actually wet and place against their fabric and would stay wetted. The material we developed for them they’re able to keep wet for 8 to 10 hours without having to re-wet the mask,” Bergad said.
The AVF shield needs a wet foam to keep the electrical charge flowing. If the foam dries out, it stops working.READ MORE: A Behind-The-Scenes Look At Longwood Gardens' $250 Million Expansion Project That Gets Underway Today
“Once this is wetted with a saline or a water, it activates the battery within the fabric. It’s not a high voltage fabric. It’s a very low but measurable voltage but it’s enough to kill bacteria,” Bergad said.
“So there’s two very different metals in here. The dots in the fabric are similar to what’s in a battery, but not hazardous. And instead of using an acid, they use water or saline solution as your electrolyte,” Bergad said.
Another unique thing they point out about this mask is that it offers two-way protection.
If an employee at ACMH is asymptomatic, it’ll offer protection not only for them but for their patients as well.
“We would love to have at least one for all of our staff because then they can wear them in all of the critical areas, as well as the routine areas like the med surge units, the skilled nursing units, places like that,” said ACMH Director of Operational Excellence Dr. Kayla Lee.
Lee says the hospital’s 1,000 employees already wear Bergad’s traditional face shield, and they’re eager for the next.
You’re probably wondering ‘How much do they cost? $39, and they’re washable and reusable.
Bergad expects they’ll be available to the public in the coming weeks. Click here to pre-order.MORE NEWS: Philadelphia School District, Teacher's Union To Hold News Conference About Return To In-Person Learning, Sources Say
CBS Pittsburgh’s Meghan Schiller reports.