Polypropylene fabric masks as good as N95?

CBC’s consumer show, Marketplace recommends the best masks to wear to prevent the spread of the pandemic—concludes: “Polypropylene fabric masks as good as N95”

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s popular consumer watchdog show, Marketplace, commissioned rigorous tests on various types of masks in an effort to determine recommendations on the type of mask best for protection.

The tests compared more than 20 masks to what most health-care workers wear—the N95 mask. Marketplace purchased masks from a variety of sources and the masks tested were also made from a variety of materials and designs.

Marketplace consigned the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to conduct rigorous testing, including measuring filtration efficiency. Filtration efficiency means the quantity of particles the mask is able to filter as the wearer breathes in. For example, an N95 mask has a 95 per cent filtration efficiency.

James Scott, who is a professor at the University of Toronto’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health, a specialist in bioaerosols, and a scientist who ran the lab where the CBC show ran its tests, remarked “This is the benchmark test. And it’s actually useful because it allows us to compare consumer market masks to masks that we know a lot about.”

Throughout the test, air samples inside and outside the mask were compared. This process tells researchers how effective the mask is at reducing particle levels. In many previous consumer mask tests, researchers mostly looked to see if a mask blocked the passage of particles when the wearer was coughing or sneezing. But the Marketplace test revealed that some mask materials make the mask more effective by limiting the wearers’ exposure by filtering what they’re breathing in.

Scott remarked. “Even fairly low-efficiency masks are actually quite effective at catching much larger particles. But it takes a really good mask to catch the small ones as well. And we know that the virus will travel not only on the big ones but the small ones as well.”

Furthermore, the Marketplace test found that masks made with polypropylene material, are equal in performance to an N95 mask—effectively filtering out potentially harmful particles.

Said Scott: “It’s this interwoven matrix of fibre. Air needs to travel around each one of those fibres and it meets the next fibre and it needs to bend its path. So, as it does that, those fabrics pull out lots and lots of particles. This is a really good example of multiple layers of different materials combining to make something greater than the sum of the parts,” said Scott.

Polypropylene fabric masks as good as N95

Med PPE Canada’s KN95 Respirator masks are an alternative face respiratory mask recommended by the CDC and approved by the FDA to help keep healthcare workers equipped during the pandemic crisis. Almost identical in specifications, KN95 masks are being rolled out as an essential alternative to the N95. They have identical filter performance and flow rates, almost identical inhalation and exhalation resistance and 8% TIL (total inward leakage). They’re made from a non-woven fabric, help to keep users safe from harmful particles from smog, dust, air pollution, allergens and more. All tests have been conducted on human subjects performing exercises. The masks create a protective seal around the user’s mouth, blocking out unwanted and dangerous particles.

For further information on recommended facemasks, please contact INFO@MEDPPECAN.COM