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Three Actions Regarding Masks Taken by ChemChina: Donation, Development and Supply

Date: 2020-03-02

Mask has become a trending word on the Internet since the outbreak of the COVID-19. China National Chemical Cooperation Ltd. (ChemChina) has tried its best to address the mask shortage problem by giving full play to its R&D and international layout advantages, keeping pushing its limits and exerting more efforts.

Action 1: Donation

ChemChina has donated 60,000 masks to Wuhan.

On Feb. 27, a truck fully loaded with donated anti-epidemic materials departed from Beijing to Tongji Medical College of HUST at the forefront of the battle against the epidemic in Wuhan. This batch of materials jointly donated by ChemChina and Sinochem Group include 60,000 masks (40,000 N95 ones and 20,000 surgical ones). All these masks were donated to Tongji Medical College of HUST to protect the medical staffs fighting at the forefront of the battle against the epidemic in its affiliated Union Hospital, Tongji Hospital, the Center Hospital of Wuhan etc.

In the letter to express their appreciation to Tongji Medical College of HUST, ChemChina and Sinochem Group wrote that "Since the outbreak of the COVID-19, the medical staffs of your hospitals have been fighting at the forefront of the epidemic day and night by racing against the time, fighting against diseases and taking their courage in both hands in the face of dangers. On this battlefield without smoke, you are worthy of the title of "the most beautiful countermarching people".

When it came to the current situation, Chen Gong, the Deputy Director of the College Office of Tongji Medical College of HUST said:"thirty-three thousand medical staffs from across the country are fighting in the forefront of treating patients in our 10 subordinate hospitals currently. The supply of protective materials still cannot meet demands in time although it has been improved a lot compared with that at the beginning of the epidemic. This batch of masks is provided at the right time and you really give us timely help."

For days, ChemChina has been keeping the epidemic-hit Wuhan and Hubei Province in its heart. In addition to donating masks, on Jan. 29, ChemChina also donated 20 million yuan to the epidemic prevention and control forefront in Hubei Province for the epidemic prevention and control via the special account established by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, helping win the epidemic prevention and control battle. Moreover, all subordinate enterprises of ChemChina also donated money and materials to the local public and medical organizations as well as those of the epidemic-hit areas. Depending on the sodium hypochlorite production capability of its subordinate enterprise, ChemChina has cumulatively donated over 820,000 liters of disinfectants to the society as of Feb. 28.

Action 2: Development

ChemChina has developed a kind of reusable mask material to replace the currently used melt-blown nonwovens.

Zhonghao Chenguang Research Institute of ChemChina is a national scientific research institute specialized in development and production of new polymer materials such as organic fluorine in our country, which was originally under former Ministry of Chemical Industry of the People's Republic of China. It has a lot of domestically leading and internationally advanced know-hows of independent intellectual property rights.

Since the outbreak of the epidemic, the key material for mask manufacturing - melt-blown nonwovens has been in seriously short supply across the country. Upon assessing and checking its independent core technologies, Zhonghao Chenguang Research Institute established a project urgently to develop a new material to replace the melt-blown nonwovens.

On Feb. 17, the reusable KN95 masks independently developed by Zhonghao Chenguang Research Institute were off the production line, marking that the high-tech material - e-PTFE microfiltration membrane developed by Zhonghao Chenguang Research Institute has been successfully used in production of masks. This high-tech material can replace the melt-blown nonwovens and withstand procedures such as washing with water and disinfection, able to be reused.

Different from the electrostatic filter-type melt-blown nonwovens, the fluorine material developed by Zhonghao Chenguang Research Institute is of physical isolation. The e-PTFE microporous membrane is a layer of thin membrane form by PTFE resin through some processes, which has many micro holes. This layer of thin membrane can be placed onto the fabrics and substrates as a filtering material of excellent performance.

According to the observation through and test with scientific instruments, these micro holes are evenly distributed, the hole diameter is about 100 times smaller than that of the holes of melt-blown nonwovens, and the porosity is over 80%. Therefore, the e-PTFE microporous membrane is of good air permeability and excellent in filtering efficiency.

According to information, the mask has been tested by a national authoritative organization. The results show that its filtering efficiency is up to 99.2% (equal to the level of N95 and KN95 masks) while the expiratory and inspiratory resistance caused by it is far lower than the standard limit. Therefore, the mask can effectively produce good effects such as air permeability but watertightness, PM2.5 filtration and prevention of microorganisms and germs from entering the body.

PTFE has been used in biomedicine, artificial blood vessel and other field before and is free of biotoxicity. As a new generation of environment-friendly product, it's safer to manufacture masks with PTFE. More importantly, PTFE can withstand many disinfection methods such as boiling water, alcohol and 84-disinfectant. When the supply of masks is in shortage, the mask can be disinfected for reuse if it can be worn normally and is unbroken.

Action 3: Supply

Ensure that masks are supplied to front-line employees.

Upon the end of the Lunar New Year holiday, ChemChina resumed its production actively. All our subordinate enterprises have resumed production up to now.

ChemChina has six business sectors, including new chemical materials and special chemicals, basic chemicals, petroleum processing, agrochemicals, tire rubber and chemical equipment. With products and businesses widely applied in all aspects of national interest and people's livelihood, ChemChina, as an important participant in multiple industrial chains and supply chains in multiple industries, not only plays a leading role in significant projects and strategic industries of the country, but also drives the development of many small and medium-sized enterprises.

Sixty-one thousand domestic employees of ChemChina have resumed their work with a sense of mission and responsibility amid the epidemic. What ChemChina cares about most is to ensure that anti-epidemic materials can be supplied to employees.

Through the Group-level planning and scheduling, ChemChina, on one hand, has sent the masks procured by overseas enterprises to the enterprises in the epidemic-hit Hubei Province as well as the subordinate enterprises requiring masks in other places all over the country, and on the other hand, has seized the time to implement production of the high-tech N95 mask independently developed by Zhonghao Chenguang Research Institute. Zhonghao Chenguang Research Institute has produced 100,000 independently developed masks up to now, which will be delivered to 30 subordinate brother enterprises successively, ensuring the normal production and operation of subordinate enterprises of ChemChina.

It's known that Zhonghao Chenguang Research Institute is seizing the time to implement the mask production capacity expansion in order to ensure that such reusable N95 masks can be supplied to more front-line employees of other systems of the society while meeting the masks demands of local units in Sichuan Province as well as brother units of ChemChina.

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