Hundreds of thousands of respirator masks to protect against coronavirus have been sent through a decontamination system that has triggered warnings from front-line workers and has so far cost the government more than $110 a mask.

The system is made by Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit research corporation that has built more than 50 mask-decontamination units after getting more than $400 million in federal government contracts. Battelle said its process allows for N95 respirator masks to be reused 20 times.

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