The Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of an ultraviolet light cleaning system to disinfect N95 masks. Developer 3B Medical claims the product’s small size and low cost makes it particularly useful in settings such as nursing homes.

The Lumin LM3000 device is authorized for emergency use during the pandemic. It originally was designed to clean continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine accessories. But this year, the company said it began fielding calls from nursing homes and other medical care providers about whether the device could be used to disinfect N95 masks.

According to the FDA, the Lumin LM3000 uses an ultraviolet germicidal irradiation cycle to decontaminate one compatible N95 respirator at a time by exposing the outer and inner surfaces of the respirator for 5 minutes each. It reduces the amount of potential virus, providing “additional safety when used to supplement the CDC reuse recommendations of a five-day wait time.”

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s reuse recommendations for N95 respirators call for the equipment to be placed in a breathable paper bag and held for a minimum of five days before disinfection.

“Lumin is the only N95 decontamination system formally recognized by FDA for killing SARS-CoV-2 that can be purchased for under $300, and with a small enough footprint to be used safely in small offices and clinics, as well as in nursing homes,” 3B Medical said in a Friday statement.