The high demand of masks has led to the importation of sub-standards from different sources. During the use of these protective equipment, several concerned individuals and organizations have raised issues of their quality.
So what can you look out for when buying a mask to make sure it does what it’s supposed to do?
And how can you test one you’ve bought or made?
How you can test your mask at home?
1. Test for good filtration and fit
For filtration and fit, you can do some rather time-consuming experiments at home. But a much simpler method is the candle test, popularized by US science educator Bill Nye. If you can blow out a candle while wearing your mask, that’s a fail. It means your mask doesn’t adequately stop the flow of air. If you can blow air out, air can also leak inward just as easily.
2. Test for water resistance
The virus is carried on water droplets expelled when infected people talk, cough and sneeze. If these droplets land on your mask, you want the outer layer to repel them. A quality surgical mask will be water resistant. But not all other masks are. So you can test a non-approved surgical mask or cloth mask at home. If a drop of water on the outside surface is absorbed straight away, that’s a fail. If the drop forms a bead, the mask is water-resistant.
How can I test my mask in a lab?
- Fluid Resistance – This test evaluates the resistance of a medical face mask to penetration by a small volume (~2 mL) of synthetic blood at a high velocity (80 mmHg, 120 mmHg, or 160 mmHg). The mask either passes or fails based on visual evidence of synthetic blood penetration.
- Breathability – This test determines the face mask’s resistance to airflow. A controlled flow of air is driven through the mask, and the pressure before and after is measured. The difference in pressure is divided by the surface (in cm2) of the sample. A lower breathing resistance indicates a better comfort level for the user.
- Bacterial Filtration (BFE) – This test measures the percentage of bacteria larger than 3 microns filtered out by the mask. The challenge material used is Staphylococcus aureus.
- Particulate Filtration (PFE) – This test measures the percentage of particles larger than 1 micron filtered out by the mask. The challenge material used consists of latex aerosol concentrations in a controlled airflow chamber.
- Flammability – This test exposes the face mask material to a flame and measures the time required for the flame to proceed up the material a distance of 127 mm (5 inches). Class 1 means the material exhibits normal flammability and is acceptable for use in clothing.
Marcandice Pvt Ltd manufactures the 3 ply surgical mask and the KN95 face masks. These are high quality masks that follow recommended international standard guidelines on medical PPE manufacturing and quality check.
For more information, get in touch with our marketing team on the following contacts.
+263 8677 197873 / +263 787547044 / +263 8677 197874
155 Enterprise Road