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FAQ about Face Masks

Frequently Asked Questions


We have studied up on corona-virus, reading dozens of articles, scanned medical journals and watched videos in order to educate ourselves on the disease as well as the truth about face masks.  What we have learned is that there are vastly differing opinions on almost all the questions.  We have done our best to filter the sources, and concentrate more on science than politics.  We used sources like the United States CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, plus other credible sources of knowledge. 

We are not doctors nor are we scientists.  But what we have attempted herein, is help you – our clients – to make sense of this very complex, and at times controversial topic.   If you have any comments, or an alternative point of view on any issues below, we would love to hear from you.  Please send us your view and your source of information as well, so that we might continue to revise our answers on the basis of credible sources.


  1. What are the benefits of wearing face masks?
  2. Are masks made in China safe?
  3. Are fabrics containing silver ions more effective at fighting bacteria?
  4. Does the Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommend wearing cloth or fabric face masks?
  5. Will a fabric mask protect me from getting Covid-19?
  6. If they don’t protect from Covid-19, then why bother wearing them?
  7. What do the face mask terms FFP1, FFP2, FFP3, N95 mean?
  8. Why are Cotton Fare masks better than a home-made cloth mask or a bandana?
  9. Do you supply any masks that are those blue or white hospital-type to protect from virus?
  10. How to properly wear a face mask?
  11. Washing:  Do I need to wash my Mask?  How often?  How to keep my face mask clean?
  12. When should I throw my mask away and replace with a fresh one?
  13. What are Reusable filters?
  14. Can I get my own logo or image printed on a face mask?
  15. What if my mask is too big? 
  16. Do you have child sized face masks?
  17. Do you accept returns of face masks?
  18. Disclaimer / Indemnification

1.     What are the benefits of wearing face masks?

 

The Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidance — and the best argument for wearing a mask:

-        is primarily to stop the wearer from infecting other people.

-        Universal mask use could stop these asymptomatic carriers, many of whom might not even know they’re sick, from inadvertently infecting other people.

-        Masks also can offer some protection from others by putting a physical barrier between them and your mouth and nose. 

-        They heighten awareness and remind people of social distancing, and not accidentally touching your own mouth and nose and then for instance, shaking someone’s hand.

-        They have the added benefit of filtering dirt and smog

Source:  www.Vox.com

 

2.     Are face masks made in China safe?

 

Like most industries everywhere, China likely has some good, experienced producers of face masks as well as unprofessional, inexperienced factories making potentially harmful masks. Many firms are simply trying to cash-out from the Covid-19 crisis.  During the past 60 days, there have been hundreds of cases reported in the press such as these:

“China is experiencing a gold rush for surgical masks — more than 38,000 companies registered in 2020 to make or trade face masks. But mask quality and scams are now issues.”

Business Insider 21 April 2020

 

 

Other real recent headlines:

 

“Netherlands recalls 600,000 face masks from China due to low quality”             April 1, 2020

“China Delays Mask and Ventilator Exports After Quality Complaints”                 April 11, 2020

“Coronavirus Round-Up: Denmark scraps millions of inferior face masks”                        April 20, 2020

“China seizes over 89 million shoddy face masks”                                                  April 26, 2020

 

So before, you place your order with some random importer or trader, research the details on where the product originated, and how dependable the manufacturer is.  This is after all, a safety product designed to protect, and not just a pen or coffee mug or other promotional give-away.

All of our masks are either manufactured in Europe, or imported from safe, proven and certified manufacturers in the Far East.

3.     Are fabrics containing silver ions more effective at fighting bacteria?

Report:  Antibacterial Activity of Cotton Fabrics, Impregnated with Silver Nanoparticles

 

Silver kills bacteria by strangling them in a warm and moist environment.

Silver and copper in the nanosize state are known for the antibacterial properties in relation to the wide spectrum of pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria. Last year in connection with development of steady strains of bacteria, their resistance to the antibiotics and bactericidal preparations is growing. Efficiency of silver as an antibacterial agent is known for centuries, and with the appearance of silver nanoparticles (Ag NPs), their use in different biomedical devices is growing sharply.

The technology

Nano technology contains finest form of silver incorporated in the fiber during manufacturing. The silver ions kill microbes and viruses on the textile surface by destroying the cell-wall of the bacteria. Silver embedded in yarn, releases +veions +veions attach and break bacteria cell bodies.

Antibacterial fabrics do not reduce their activity after washing. A method developed for such material is extremely fast, cost-effective, and convenient.

Source:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4717125/

 

National Center for Biotechnology Information

U.S. National Library of Medicine

8600 Rockville Pike, Bethesda MD, 20894 USA

4.     Does the CDC recommend wearing cloth or fabric face masks?

 

The CDC is advising that every person wear a cloth mask or face covering in certain public settings to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Masks should be worn by all except infants “in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” such as grocery stores and pharmacies, CDC guidance reads. Masks are especially recommended in areas where Covid-19 has shown significant spread from person to person.

The new guidance is a big shift for the federal government, which previously declined, through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and surgeon general, to recommend that most of the public wear a mask. Authorities previously only recommended masks for those who are sick and people, such as health care workers, who frequently interact with the sick.

The recommendation, based on new guidance from the CDC, only calls for people to use cloth masks, including homemade variants. The guidance is voluntary in some countries, and mandatory in others, like Poland.

The recommendation does not mean you should go out and buy a traditional medical mask. Since there’s a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), including masks, for doctors and nurses, experts recommend that people don’t use the limited supply of medical masks, like surgical masks and N95 respirators, for themselves and instead leave those for health care workers.

While the evidence is limited, research suggests that more mask use by the greater public could help stop the spread of Covid-19. Some studies in households and colleges “show a benefit of masks,” Raina MacIntyre, head of the Biosecurity Program at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, told me, “so it would be plausible that they would also protect in lower-intensity transmission settings such as in the general community.”

 

Source: Vox.    https://www.vox.com/2020/4/3/21202792/coronavirus-masks-n95-trump-white-house-cdc-ppe-shortage

 

5.     Will a fabric mask protect me from getting Covid-19?

 

Source:  www.Vox.com  

Fabric masks like the ones on Cotton Fare, can help reduce the risks. But these are NOT medical grade masks, and do not have medical filtering material that can stop viruses from penetrating.  And they are not an excuse to ease up on social distancing, good hygiene, and all the other things public health officials are recommending right now. Do all of those things too.

Cloth masks are much less effective than surgical masks or N95 respirators, as a 2015 study in BMJ found.  But they still, in general, offer more protection than no mask at all, several studies concluded.

The CDC’s guidance — and the best argument for wearing a mask, according to the experts I spoke with — is primarily to stop the wearer from infecting other people. That’s especially important for Covid-19, since at least some spread happens when people are asymptomatic, when they have few symptoms, or before they develop symptoms. Universal mask use could stop these asymptomatic carriers, many of whom might not even know they’re sick, from inadvertently infecting other people.

Masks also can offer some protection from others by putting a physical barrier between them and your mouth and nose. But we don’t know how much, because it’s unclear how much the virus spreads through airborne droplets or aerosols.

The quality of the research on this topic is weak, with a lot of small, underpowered studies. But the studies that do exist generally favor more people wearing masks.

To emphasize: Yes, masks can help. But they’re not an excuse to ease up on social distancing, good hygiene, and all the other things public health officials are recommending right now. Do all of those things too.

 

Source:           https://www.vox.com/2020/4/8/21209895/coronavirus-face-masks-n95-covid-19-ppe-shortage

 

6.     If they don’t protect from Covid-19, then why bother wearing them?

 

The CDC’s guidance — and the best argument for wearing a mask, according to the experts I spoke with — is primarily to stop the wearer from infecting other people. That’s especially important for Covid-19, since at least some spread happens when people are asymptomatic, when they have few symptoms, or before they develop symptoms. Universal mask use could stop these asymptomatic carriers, many of whom might not even know they’re sick, from inadvertently infecting other people.

Masks also can offer some protection from others by putting a physical barrier between them and your mouth and nose. But we don’t know how much, because it’s unclear how much the virus spreads through airborne droplets or aerosols.

Masks can’t replace all the other approaches needed to fight the coronavirus, like washing your hands, not touching your face, and social distancing. Still, when paired with all these other tactics — and when used correctly — masks offer an extra layer of protection.

Source:  www.Vox.com  

 

7.     What do the face mask terms FFP or N95 mean?

Protective face masks are a complex, technical product with a wide range of product performance attributes, safety features and if applicable, legal certifications that are of great importance depending on the specific intended purpose of the mask. 

An FFP mask (Filtering Facepiece Particles, also called respiratory protection mask) is a type of protective mask certified by the European Union that serves to protect against particulates such as dust particles and various viruses in the air. The EN 149 standard defines three classes of filter efficiency for these masks, namely FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3

FFP1 mask

It is the least filtering mask of the three.

    Aerosol filtration percentage: 80% minimum.

    Internal leak rate: Maximum 22%.

 

FFP2 mask

Is a medical grade mask, that protects against viruses.

 

    Aerosol filtration percentage: Not less than 94%.

    Internal leak rate: Maximum 8%.

 

This mask offers protection in various areas such as the glass industry, foundry, construction, pharmaceutical industry and agriculture. It effectively stops powdered chemicals. This mask can also serve as protection against influenza viruses such as avian influenza or severe acute respiratory syndrome associated with the coronavirus (SARS), as well as against the bacteria of pneumonic plague and tuberculosis.

 

FFP3 mask

An FFP3 mask with an exhalation valve.

 

    Aerosol filtration percentage: Not less than 99% for EN 149-FFP3. And 99.95% for EN 143-P3.

    Internal leak rate: Maximum 2%

The FFP3 mask is the most filtering of the FFP masks. It protects very fine particles such as asbestos and ceramic. It does not protect against gases and in particular nitrogen oxide.[6]

 

N95 masks

An N95 mask or N95 respirator is a particulate-filtering facepiece respirator that meets the N95 standard of the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) air filtration rating, meaning that it filters at least 95% of airborne particles, while not resistant to oil like the P95.

N95 respirators are considered functionally equivalent to certain respirators regulated under non-U.S. jurisdictions, such as FFP2 respirators of the European Union.  The N95 mask requires a fine mesh of synthetic polymer fibers, also known as nonwoven polypropylene fabric, which is produced through a highly specialized process called melt blowing that forms the inner filtration layer that filters out hazardous particles.

 

8.     Why are Cotton Fare masks better than a home-made cloth mask or a bandana?

 

Cotton Fare masks are manufactured from certified, 3-ply cotton-blend fabric. The fabric meets the human-ecological requirements certified by OEKO-TEX Standard 100.

  • Inner layer soft 100% cotton to the face
  • Middle layer non-woven certified filter (PN-EN689)
  • Outer layer, durable non-woven polypropylene for increased filtration and protection

100% cotton, single jersey or home-made cloth masks are sometimes accepted by most countries for everyday consumer use, but there is no question that they have much weaker filtering properties, and hence, are less safe than the 3-ply filtered fabric used in Cotton Fare masks.

 

9.     Do you supply any masks that are those blue or white hospital-type to protect from virus?

 

Yes.  We have a few models of medical type mask without any design if you are interested.  They are sold in minimum quantities of 10 pieces in a zip-lock bag.   Link here

 

10.     How to properly wear a face mask?

 

Step 1: Wash your hands before touching your mask.

Step 2: When you put on the mask, make sure it covers your nose and mouth and fits comfortably around your face.

Step 3: While you have the mask on in public places, avoid touching it and replace it if it feels damp.

Step 4: When you're done with the mask, or replacing it with a new one, carefully take it off from behind or by the straps.

Step 5: Put reusable cloth masks directly into the laundry hamper or hand wash after use.

Step 6: Wash. Your. Hands.

 

Source:           https://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-put-on-wear-take-off-face-mask-cloth-covering?IR=T

 

11.  Washing:  Do I need to wash my Mask?  How often?  How to keep my face mask clean?

 

Cotton Fare reusable face masks can and should be washed after wearing them during a full day.  Washing by hand in hot water ( 40° C / 104° F) with anti-bacterial soap is best.  This should remove any dirt or and kill trace elements of bacteria that may have accumulated during the day.   We have tested our masks in machine laundering as well, but the longer cycle and harsh environment results in the mask wearing out faster and the fabric sometimes becomes puckered (wrinkly).  If your mask gets wrinkled, you can safely iron on the inside (cotton face-side) of the mask.  Iron has the added benefit of further destroying any traces of virus or bacteria.

 

12.  When should I throw my mask away and replace with a fresh one?

 

Our printed fabric masks can be washed and re-used.  Ideally, we would recommend discarding the mask after 5 uses (5 full days).  Be sure to hand wash your mask frequently. Because of their size, Cotton Fare dry quite quickly.  If you purchase an N95 or other medical grade disposable mask (generally the blue colored lightweight masks), these masks must be discarded after a single use.

During the early phase of Covid-19, there were dramatic shortages of face masks – medical grade and consumer types – in the market.  That result in many people re-using masks or wearing them for longer periods than prescribed.  This even occurred in hospitals in Europe and the USA.  Now that supplies are returning to normal, there’s no excuse not to discard your used face mask after the prescribed usage time.

 

13.  What are Reusable filters?

 

Some masks have a small pocket or compartment sewn in, that allows the user to replace the filters that are sandwiched between the two outer layers of fabric.  In this case, the outside body of the mask can be washed repeatedly for longer term use, and the filters can be replaced every week (for instance) to insure continued efficacy.   Consumers would need to purchase extra packets of filters, or find a source of them on their own.  Cotton Fare plans to launch a replaceable filter face mask in May 2020.

 

14.  Can I get my own logo or image printed on a face mask?

 

Of course.  This is our specialty. See section “Printing on Face Masks.”

 

15.  What if my mask is too big? 

 

Our masks are universally sized, separately for Adults and Kids.   If your mask is a bit too big, the best solution is to tie a knot in the strap to tighten up the fit.

 

16.  Do you have child sized face masks?

 

Yes, our children’s masks are sized for children from ages 4 to 12.  Again, you can adjust the straps or elastic band if the mask is slightly too big.

 

17.  Do you accept returns of face masks?

 

No. Because of regulations related to the hygienic nature of the product, we cannot accept returns.  All sales are final.

 

18.  Disclaimer / Indemnification

 

These are not medical products (non-N95), but a consumer product for everyday use. It does meet the requirements of recent safety regulations introduced by the Polish government.  Check with your local authorities for your own face mask safety standards.

This product should not be used in surgical or clinical settings or where significant exposure to liquid, bodily or other hazardous fluids may be expected.  This product is not for use in presence of high intensity heat source or flammable gas.

If skin irritation occurs, immediately stop using the face mask.  If irritation persists, consult with your primary care provider. 

 

 

Any other questions?  If you have additional questions please submit them below, and we will do our best to get back to you within 24 hours.

 

 

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