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Richard  Peltier - University of Massachusetts Amherst. Amherst, MA, US

Richard Peltier Richard  Peltier

Associate Professor, Environmental Health Sciences | University of Massachusetts Amherst


During the COVID-19 pandemic, Richard Peltier has conducted urgent research to determine if health care workers can safely reuse face masks.


Areas of Expertise (3)

Environmental Health

Face Masks

Aerosol filtration


Richard Peltier's urgent research finding that medical face masks, which had fallen into short supply during the Covid-19 pandemic, could be safely reused after sterilization gained international media attention. He was sought after by publications including the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

He heads the Aerosol Lab at UMass Amherst which investigates the chemical components of ambient particulate matter that have a significant effect on human health. His findings on the protective properties of face masks as protection against air pollution have also been widely reported.


Video Appearances





Professor Richard Peltier Explains Mask Research Richard Peltier, a UMass Amherst Scientist, Works to Test Medical Face Masks for Reuse Richard Peltier on WGBY


Education (3)

Georgia Institute of Technology: Ph.D., Atmospheric Chemistry

Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health: Masters of Public Health, Public Health

University of Massachusetts: B.S., Biology

Press Coverage (6)

UMass study shows certain decontamination methods might not be safest for N95 masks

WHDH  tv


Richard Peltier, an associate professor at UMass Amherst said the study tested N95 masks that were used in hospitals to measure the impact of different cleaning techniques through a grant from the National “You can’t just assume that when we manipulate these masks, which really are meant to be disposable, that we’re not damaging them in a way that we don’t intend,” Peltier said. “This is a public health issue and public health has to be led by science.”

Richard Peltier

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Questions mount over mask decontamination machine once hailed as a game-changer

The Boston Globe  print


In May, Richard Peltier, an environmental health scientist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, was awarded an $85,000 grant by the National Science Foundation to test the efficacy of respirator masks that had been treated by various sterilization methods. “It actually kind of blows my mind," Peltier said. "There are lots of people who are worried about wearing these things . . . At the same time, you have these corporate entities who are making decisions on what’s safe for somebody to wear, really in the absence of sound data.”

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How to Donate Your N95 Masks to New York Doctors

The New Yotk Times  print


Hospitals in New York and other coronavirus hot spots “are running in short supply of N95 masks,” said Richard E. Peltier, an associate professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Hospitals have been conserving masks or reusing them to make them last. “So we’re playing a game of roulette,” Mr. Peltier said.

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Coronavirus Prompts Hospitals to Find Ways to Reuse Masks Amid Shortages

The Wall Street Journal  print


Richard Peltier, a health sciences professor at the University of Massachusetts, is investigating whether N95 masks can be reused by medical personnel.

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UMass Study Shows N95 Face Masks Can Be Reused After Sterilization

New England Public Radio  radio


UMass Amherst scientist Richard Peltier says he's shown that a high-grade medical mask — often considered disposable — can be sterilized and re-used at least once.

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Coronavirus research: UMass races to see if face masks can be reused

MassLive  online


Urgent research at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is investigating whether health care providers can safely reuse protective face masks. Richard Peltier, professor of environmental health sciences in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences, is testing N95 masks in the lab to see if they are still effective at blocking infectious particles after sterilization.

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