Certified safe labels coming for face masks

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/10/29/certified-safe-labels-coming-for-face-masks.html


They should make clear what “safe” means in this case. This would be only for the material, quality construction of the mask. Fitting is almost as important.

If you aren’t breathing through the material, then you are breathing around it, and there is little or no filtration at all. People who wear glasses understand this because breath flows up under the mask and out to steam up our glasses. That air isn’t filtered, so it wouldn’t apply to their certification.


Next: How to determine if your “certified” face mask is really certified or just a cheap knockoff.


Ah yes, the ol’ recursive certification of the certification of the certification.

Brought to you by the Committee of Redundancy of Committee Redundancy.


Here’s an older document comparing the standards for N95, KN95, FFP2, P2, a few more.

There’s a misconception that we should wear face masks because it protects us from getting the virus from others. It’s actually backwards: you should wear a face mask to prevent others from getting the virus if you are sick. Homemade masks will do very little to filter the air you breathe in, but they can be pretty effective at filtering the air you breathe out if made properly.

If there’s more commercially available masks being certified to provide some certified level of protection, that’s great. But it seems like more of a money grab than anything.


And any type of face covering (other than face shields or bandanas that are worn loose at the neck, though those are still better than nothing) help limit the amount of aerosols dispersed and the range they are dispersed.

I live in a part of NY that has been remarkably stable since May and we have a) very high population density for a rural area and b) lots of tourists trying to get out of the city and NJ. The only credible reason we haven’t had multiple spikes while everyone south and west of us had is simple; people wear their damn masks! The same nearby hotspots literally surrounding us keep swinging up and down and have radically higher infection/death rates. Purely coincidentally, they are also majority conservative and have lower rates of mask usage. Go figure.


Huh. According to the linked WHO article, about 3-layer masks:

That external layer shouldn’t come at the expense of breathability: Wearers should be able to blow out a candle about 12 in (30 cm) away, Amy Price, a co-author of the paper with Chu, said in a press release.

What about the Bill Nye test where he puffs at a lit candle that doesn’t go out, to prove that his mask is effective? Asking sincerely – I’m home-sewing masks & want them to be as safe as possible.


The nice thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from.

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Sure, because of the damn regulators!

You forgot the /s. No, many standards exist because money. You’re at a lower level, stuck with an old standard? Time to upgrade! Pay to stay current.

Makers can’t wait for the “certified” labels to go on sale at Amazon, EBay, Etsy, and Alibaba.

Of course, any mask is only safe if worn properly.
With the certified safe masks include this disclaimer?
Something like, "Only safe if worn over the nose and mouth, not under your nose, or under your chin, Karen! :grin:

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Many Chinese sellers already tout uncertified masks as “Genuine KN95” because they know Americans are willfully stupid about learning how this stuff works even if they die or kill others from ignorance.

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