Crown Mutual Group has responded to the call for assistance with COVID 19 by providing medical-grade PPE to the North American market. We are proud to offer Canadian made products that are Health Canada Compliant and certified by the ASTM as Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.
ASTM International, formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, is an international standards organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems, and services.
While the science behind these levels and what qualifies the standards behind them maybe of little use to anyone who doesn’t work in the medical profession, we are all subject to the latest understanding of what it means to wear a face mask.
It really is time to pay attention to the experts and make sure you are doing what you can to protect yourself and others. This includes how masks are made and the types of layers and materials it should have for a minimum layer of protection. This article will explain the need for the layers and how each level of mask pertains to its intended use.
What Type of Face Mask is Best for COVID-19?
The general consensus in the medical community is that cotton face masks are the best choice for stopping the spread of COVID-19. This is because of cotton filters out a higher percentage of particles than most other materials. Plus, cotton fibres are soft, cool, and breathable, which makes for a more comfortable fit.
The CDC offers the following guidelines for wearing face masks:
- Fits snuggly but comfortably against the side of the face
- Secures with ties or ear loops
- Includes multiple layers of fabric
- Allows for breathing without restriction
- Able to be laundered and machine dried without damage or change the shape
Types of Filters
Masks and other PPE items serve as a physical barrier to respiratory droplets.
Droplet spread and airborne spread are different modes of transmission of the virus through the air. Filters add an extra layer of protection by trapping small infectious particles and can include non-woven polypropylene fabric.
The 3-ply surgical mask is made up of 3 different layers of non-woven fabric with each layer having a specific function. Together, these 3 layers effectively protect both the user and the surrounding people by limiting the penetration of particles and pathogens in both directions.
Layer 1. The outermost layer (typically blue) is waterproof and helps to repel fluids such as mucosalivary droplets.
Level 2. The middle piece is the filter, which prevents particles or pathogens above a certain size from penetrating in either direction.
Level 3. The innermost layer is made of absorbent materials to trap mucosalivary droplets from the user. This layer also absorbs the moisture from exhaled air, thus improving comfort.
It should be noted that surgical masks are not the same as surgical respirators. Masks are made to act as barriers to splashes or aerosols whereas respirators are made to filter out airborne particles such as viruses and bacteria, and create a seal around the mouth and nose.
How Masks are Manufactured
Fabrics: Non-woven fabric does not contain intertwining strands and is made by bonding a mass of fibres together using heat, chemical, or mechanical means.
Felt is one of the most common examples of non-woven fabric. The two most common methods of making non-woven fabric for the surgical masks are spunbond and melt-blown.
Testing and Compliance
According to the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) F2100 standard, which specifies the performance requirements for materials used in medical face masks, five performance characteristics have been identified.
- Particulate Filtration Efficiency (PFE) – This test measures the filtration efficiency of face masks towards mono-disperse particles under a constant airflow rate.
- Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) – This test quantifies the performance of the mask material in filtering out bacteria when challenged with an aerosol
- Fluid Resistance -Fluid resistance evaluates the mask’s ability to act as a barrier to the transfer of fluids from its outer to its inner layers due to spraying or splashing
- Differential Pressure -This parameter, otherwise known as “delta P,” measures the ability of the mask material to restrict airflow through it, giving an objective indication of the mask’s breathability.
- Flammability -Hospitals contain numerous sources of ignition, such as heat, oxygen, and fuel sources.
CMG operates under the authority of federally issued Medical Device Establishment Licences (MDEL). Our PPE is safe and effective and exceeds the compliance requirements put forward by Health Canada following standards throughout the design and testing stages.
CMG is FDA registered to provide Medical grade PPE across North America. Our products are compliant with ASTM standards, which are the governing body for product safety.
Crown Mutual face masks are Made in Canada and offer a superior grade product to health care professionals as well as the general public at a competitive price making it an easy choice.