Should Consumer Masks Feature Labels Indicating Their Effectiveness?
Posted by : Mercury Labels Ltd on Monday, November 23, 2020 in Waterproof and Weather Proof Labels.
Slowly but surely, wearing a mask is becoming a normal part of everyday life for the public worldwide. Even in places where wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 isn’t mandatory, millions are still taking common sense precautions.
Unfortunately, evidence continues to suggest that not all consumer masks are effective in reducing the spread of the virus. In which case, isn’t now the time to ensure that consumer masks feature printed labels to indicate their effectiveness or otherwise?
Worrying Performance Discrepancies
What’s become clear over recent weeks in particular is that not all masks are capable of providing the protection the wearer expects. It’s common knowledge that in most instances, consumer masks worn in public places are designed to protect others in the vicinity, rather than the wearer. By significantly reducing the concentration of virus particles in the air the wearer breathes out, those around them are significantly less likely to contract COVID-19.
Other masks, such as those with an N-95 rating or higher, have been scientifically proven to filter the vast majority of harmful particles from the air the wearer breathes in.
The problem is that in most instances, the vast majority of consumer masks provide no information whatsoever as to their effectiveness. No adhesive labels indicating their efficiency, no printed labels outlining their performance in laboratory tests and no real information for the wearer to go on.
As a result, millions are confidently wearing masks out and about in public that may be providing little to no protection whatsoever. Worse still, there are some types of consumer masks that have actually proven to be counterproductive in tests.
Giving the importance of everyone playing a part in the prevention of COVID-19 transmission worldwide, it simply makes sense to ensure all masks feature printed labels indicating their effectiveness. Something a series of public health authorities and trading standards organisations are now calling for - albeit at a relatively late juncture.
The Importance of Avoiding Assumptions
In the meantime, the advice from experts is relatively simple. If you come across a mask online or at a store that doesn’t clearly indicate its proven effectiveness, you have to assume it isn’t effective at all.
Assumptions in the opposite direction should be avoided at all costs, given the fact that it is your health and that of those around you on the line.
If in doubt, opt exclusively for masks that are specifically recommended by public health authorities and experts. In addition, don’t forget that in order to reduce your own risk of contracting COVID-19, you need a mask that filters the air you inhale - not just the air you exhale.
Until printed labels become a mandatory feature for consumer masks, don’t be afraid to scrutinise the products you’ll ultimately be using to protect your health and that of those around you.