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Marketplace tested over 20 different masks. Here's what will best protect you and others during the pandemic

  • Last Updated:
  • Nov 15th, 2020 1:59 pm
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Marketplace tested over 20 different masks. Here's what will best protect you and others during the pandemic

Marketplace tested over 20 different masks. Here's what will best protect you and others during the pandemic

TL;DR "Blue three-ply surgical-type disposable masks also reported some of the highest filtration efficiency rates in the Marketplace test, which was of no surprise to Scott, as most contain that melt-blown, non-woven polypropylene fabric."
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Jan 9, 2011
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"If your glasses or sunglasses fog up when you are wearing your mask, you should choose another."

They missed an opportunity to investigate this. I have not found any mask other than custom-fitted N95 that does not have this problem, and the blue surgical masks seem to suffer from this more than others. And I have trouble believing that the masks were tested under the real-world conditions of wearing them on faces where air leaks in and out around the sides, top, and bottom. The best fabric in the world isn't going to be any more effective than the worst if air and particles can just go around it.
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Kiraly wrote: the blue surgical masks seem to suffer from this more than others
Mine have a metal strip along the top edge that can be form fitted around the nose. A nurse also suggested to me to put a small piece of surgical tape on either side at the top to better seal that area. Works for me.
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Kiraly wrote: "If your glasses or sunglasses fog up when you are wearing your mask, you should choose another."

They missed an opportunity to investigate this. I have not found any mask other than custom-fitted N95 that does not have this problem, and the blue surgical masks seem to suffer from this more than others. And I have trouble believing that the masks were tested under the real-world conditions of wearing them on faces where air leaks in and out around the sides, top, and bottom. The best fabric in the world isn't going to be any more effective than the worst if air and particles can just go around it.
Yea, you really start to care about air leakage when your glasses are fogging up. Having a really good nose wire to shape it helps, as does setting your glasses over the mask to hold it down. I even avoid wearing some of my glasses that tend to fog more easily. It tends to be larger, tighter fitting ones. Smaller more open ones are less prone to fogging.

If you watch the video in the article, you can see it's not real world, as they tape the filters around the edges for their filtration test. They're really just testing the fabric.

You're likely having more issues with the blue masks because they are filtering better than others, so higher resistance causing more air to leak up to your glasses.
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[OP]
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engineered wrote: Yea, you really start to care about air leakage when your glasses are fogging up. Having a really good nose wire to shape it helps, as does setting your glasses over the mask to hold it down. I even avoid wearing some of my glasses that tend to fog more easily. It tends to be larger, tighter fitting ones. Smaller more open ones are less prone to fogging.

If you watch the video in the article, you can see it's not real world, as they tape the filters around the edges for their filtration test. They're really just testing the fabric.

You're likely having more issues with the blue masks because they are filtering better than others, so higher resistance causing more air to leak up to your glasses.
My takeaway from their tests is that generally a surgical mask provides much greater protection than a cloth mask, even a multi-ply mask made from one of the preferred materials. Moreover one can buy a box of 50 surgical masks for about the price of one cloth mask.
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bylo wrote: My takeaway from their tests is that generally a surgical mask provides much greater protection than a cloth mask, even a multi-ply mask made from one of the preferred materials. Moreover one can buy a box of 50 surgical masks for about the price of one cloth mask.
On the other hand, we're creating more waste, as I'm throwing away the surgical mask each day.
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vkizzle wrote: On the other hand, we're creating more waste, as I'm throwing away the surgical mask each day.
I use one disposable mask a week. I use it less than an hour/day and mist it with sanitizer occasionally, treating it similar to a cloth type. Sure, it isn't as effective as it was brand new, but it's still likely better than other types.
I'm going going anywhere crowded or spending lots of time around strangers, so my risk is already pretty low. If I was in a high risk area I'd use a disposable KN95 mask.
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[OP]
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vkizzle wrote: On the other hand, we're creating more waste, as I'm throwing away the surgical mask each day.
There's no need to throw out surgical masks. I have a few that I rotate after every use. See Can you reuse a disposable mask? How many times? for more info.

This info needs to be disseminated more widely. Discarded surgical masks on streets and roads have become the new Tim Hortons coffee cups.
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Sep 21, 2003
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Does anyone have a good source for the recommended style of mask? Most of the local places are doing two-ply or materials other than cotton and polypropylene. I know there are plenty on Etsy but it's hard to choose.
"My fellow Americans, these are not the droids the nation is looking for."
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Bob_McBob wrote: Does anyone have a good source for the recommended style of mask?
For the blue "disposable" surgical masks, this is a reasonable deal. Maybe not the cheapest but delivered to your door for the price: Siyang Disposable Face Mask, 50 pcs per Box for $12.
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Costco has the 3 layer 50 masks for $10
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Sep 21, 2003
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Sorry, I guess I should have specified I'm asking about reusable cloth masks. Disposable masks aren't difficult to find.
"My fellow Americans, these are not the droids the nation is looking for."
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Have tons of generic blue disposable non-medicals masks. Where is the cheapest place to buy these same masks,but black in colour? Thanks in advance!
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Jun 4, 2013
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bylo wrote: There's no need to throw out surgical masks. I have a few that I rotate after every use. See Can you reuse a disposable mask? How many times? for more info.

This info needs to be disseminated more widely. Discarded surgical masks on streets and roads have become the new Tim Hortons coffee cups.
If I am going out for a short time IE getting mail, throwing garbage then I reuse the mask. If I go out for more than an hour the mask gets thrown out. There are misture when we breath in and out and out. I rather use a new mask rather than reusing it.
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Nov 22, 2010
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Mr_Fanta wrote: Have tons of generic blue disposable non-medicals masks. Where is the cheapest place to buy these same masks,but black in colour? Thanks in advance!
Saw them at Costco for under $14 for 50.
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Poutinesauce wrote: CBC marketplace "experiments" have always been about entertainment and not science, this is just yet another example.
How so?

Of course one can pick nits with the methodology and need to entertain. This isn't a peer-reviewed paper submitted to a scientific journal. It's designed to inform the general public about the best mask options available today. It also reaches a far wider audience than journal articles. So unless someone has been following this issue carefully since the start of the pandemic this article adds considerable value to its target audience.

One example. In the early days of the pandemic, when PPE was scarce and needed by front line health care staff, the recommendation was to make your own cotton masks. There were even articles showing how to reuse old T-shirts and the like to DIY masks. Now PPE, especially the standard blue surgical masks, are widely available. So if all this article accomplishes is to (a) suggest that standard, inexpensive surgical masks are among the most effective face coverings for helping to stop the spread of COVID-19 and/or (b) encourage people to examine their cloth masks for materials used and construction method, it will have served a valuable service.
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Mr_Fanta wrote: Have tons of generic blue disposable non-medicals masks. Where is the cheapest place to buy these same masks,but black in colour? Thanks in advance!
Amazon. I got mine awhile back in black (they were pricier then, now pretty cheap).

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