Since February of 2020, we’ve been asking for standards for masks/face coverings used by our communities. Finally, the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) has established a national standard for “Barrier Face Coverings” (ASTM F3502) that are neither medical masks according to ASTM F2100 standards nor respirators according to NIOSH standards. This new standard […]
WHO Fabric Mask Guidance – December Updates
On December 1, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) updated their guidance on fabric masks, “Mask Use in the Context of COVID-19 (December, 2020)”, including their “Updated Guidance on Non-Medical (Fabric) Masks” (p. 19-22). This post pulls out key quotes from the new WHO guidance, touching on their recommendations for layering, mask performance standards, and […]
5 Key Considerations For Window Masks
One of the challenges with face masks is that they often cover key facial features and expressions that are important for communicating speech and emotions. For many people, this means missing out on smiles, and having a little bit more trouble understanding other people in noisy environments. For people that are deaf, hard of hearing, […]
Myths about Masks
In this guest post, our collaborators from the ROSE Project (Reusable Open Source Equipment) debunk some common myths about face masks for COVID-19 and share the facts about masks.
WHO Guidance on Face Masks Changes
Surprising New Guidance from the WHO The WHO guidance on face masks for COVID-19 has changed to include the recommendation that the general public use fabric masks in public settings where physical distancing can’t be achieved and provides specific guidance on mask layers and materials. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the ideal fabric […]
Fabric Face Masks: Cleaning and Disinfection
Reusable fabric masks should be cleaned and/or disinfected before each use to reduce risks associated with COVID-19 AND other potentially infectious microorganisms (e.g. bacteria, viruses, and fungi). Although the general principles of mask cleaning and disinfection are the same for most fabric masks, details will vary depending on specific mask designs, features, and materials. These […]
Label Me A Face Mask: FDA Labeling Requirements
Almost everything comes with a label, from food to clothing to medicine to medical devices, and according to the FDA, face masks and cloth face coverings should come with labels too. More specifically, the Emergency Use Authorization for Face Masks released by the FDA April 24, 2020, includes labeling requirements for masks that are being […]
The Big Four: Criteria for Fabric Mask Materials for COVID
This deep dive post looks into the “Big Four” criteria evaluated in preliminary assessments of community mask materials: material characteristics, breathability, water-repellence, and disinfection options. More specifically, we focus on nonwoven polypropylene (NWPP), which is commonly used in commercial face masks. Although ideal medical grade NWPP is not currently available for community use, NWPP is commonly available at different weights and grades for other household and/or commercial purposes, such as reusable grocery bags. Here we take a more in-depth look at the 4 preliminary criteria considered when evaluating potential sources of NWPP.