- The demand for personal safety masks during the current crisis is sky high. Unfortunately, not all masks are created equal. An industry insider recently shared what to look for in a mask that can be counted on.
The need for quality, effective, and affordable safety masks is clear across the United States. Ordering them can be something of a challenge with some masks best avoided, no matter what their price may be. The good news, according to industry-authority Urban Mask, is that with 9 top things to look for when purchasing a mask kept in mind, having access to a mask that helps protect the community can be quite simple.
“There is no doubt that misinformation is rampant when it comes to personal protection masks,” commented Rakesh Shah “It is a pleasure to help clear up some of this confusion.”
Here’s a look at the 9 things to look for when purchasing a mask:
1) Where the Masks are Actually Made. A hard truth is that most masks flooding the market today are made in China with all of the associated quality concerns. They are drop shipped while others that claim to be made or shipped from the USA are made in China and shipped to a distributor in the US to mask their true origin. All in the name of profit. This not only endangers health, potentially, due to quality lapses but also adds to the shipping time and takes away from the American market and economy. Research is required. Two “red flags” to watch for: shipping that is longer than one or two days; and mass produced masks are a dead give away. Be sure to contact the seller and ask for confirmation that product is made in the United States.
2) What the Mask is Made Of. The vast majority of people are not used to wearing a mask. Our skin is sensitive to change and the best material is 100% organic cotton on the inside of the mask with another woven but breathable layer on the outside. Most masks that are dyed or printed are using inks that are not organic or natural. Be careful not to breathe in chemicals in exchange for protection.
Additional options are stretch cotton material used for baby clothing, water resistant breathable materials on the exterior of mask or other breathable fabrics. Two layer construction has been shown to be effective in blocking virus transmission while allowing for enough air flow to be comfortable for extended wear. Here is a link to a study showing most effective combinations: https://bit.ly/3ehBR2B.
3) The Mask’s Comfortable Fit and Functionality. The two options are generally ear loops or head ties. While ear loops are easy to put on and take off, they can cause irritation and even ear fatigue. Head ties make of cord or elastic are more comfortable for most. One particular variation is quite functional, using a cord with a closed loop at the top to allow the mask to hang around the neck when the mask isn’t in use.
4) Does it help prevent Covid-19? Are filters any good? Studies by multiple groups have shown that a two layer mask is effective in reducing the risk of exposure to air pollutants and infectious air and water particles. While not all masks provide the protection of N95 and above, they are better than one layer masks or none at all. The majority of people using masks in normal situations find two layer masks to be adequate protection.
5) Is it safe for younger children? Children over two years of age can wear a mask but the challenge is making sure materials used are safe for the child. Organic breathable cotton with organic dyes is the best and safest option. Always make sure a child wearing a mask can breath properly.
6) Can it be washed and reused? Low quality masks will deform or tear after several washes. Or less. Disposable mask will cost more over the long run. Make sure quality masks are purchased that can withstand many wash cycles and are stitched professionally using durable materials.
7) Does the Mask Company Support any Causes? At a time like this Covid-19 pandemic there are a lot of individuals and companies exploiting the public with cheap products that are made in China or quickly mass produced solely to make the most profit. Do your research and purchase a mask from a local business that is donating funds or masks to others in need. Besides front line medical professionals there are many others in need. Some examples are supermarket staff, retail and restaurant workers, gas station attendants, law enforcement officers and other people who are paid lower wages and can’t afford a high quality mask, while still be at a high risk. Buy from a company that donates to a cause in the United States and gives out masks to those who are in need but are (too often) forgotten
8) Are all Homemade Masks the Same? No, they aren’t. Any home made mask is better than none but there are some that are better than others. Get the right size and fit. Make sure you check the type of material used and stitching quality too.
9) Sanitize Your Mask Before Use. Many people forget this key step. Don’t be one of them.
If you find a mask that is sanitized before shipping that is a huge plus. Masks should always be washed before first use, especially if you’re buying from a source that is mass producing or shipping from outside the United States. Better safe than sorry.
With these nine tips in mind you are nearly a personal protective mask professional. Be safe.