Straight Facts about Face Masks

Straight Facts about Face Masks

As a New Yorker, I am deep into quarantine these days. Manufacturing is having big challenges. I'm very stressed out. What is very disconcerting to me is the lack of consumer knowledge when it comes to respiratory protection. N95 is the best protection against the virus. No one will argue that. 

Now what to do about all of the sewers being mobilized to sew for healthcare workers and others who don't and cannot get masks? I've been asked repeatedly for the use of my patterns. They're buying up cotton and other materials. Good luck finding elastic anywhere in America. I was told this evening by a fabric supplier that there's a total run on that. A cotton hand-sewn mask may protect against a small percentage of large microparticles but for sure not a virus (at .1 microns). It will, however, make the wearer more conscious about touching one's face. So, it is better than nothing. 

To clarify common misconception, “Doctors started wearing the first surgical masks in 1897. They weren’t much more than a glorified handkerchief tied around one’s face, and they weren’t designed to filter airborne disease — that’s still not the point of surgical masks today. They were (and are) used to prevent doctors from coughing or sneezing droplets onto wounds during surgery.

This distinction between a mask and a respirator is important. It’s why healthcare professionals are upset that they’re being instructed to wear surgical masks when respirators are unavailable. Masks are not only made of different materials; they fit loosely on the face, so that particles can come in from the side. Respirators create an airtight seal so they actually filter inhalation (Fast Company, March 2020).”

For those who are searching globally for masks, you're not going to be able to find N95 overseas. NIOSH ratings are American standards. Each country has a different label for the lab-tested products. Kind of like a monetary currency, each country has its own version, but all will buy you a sandwich in the end.

N95 is made in USA 
FFP2 is made in Europe 
KN95 is made in China
KF94 is made in Korea
ASTM F2100 is another American standard
All are the same filter grade

I'm trying to help. I wish you all the best during these confusing and difficult times. 


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