Thank you for tackling a truly tough subject in your article: “RIP Cloth Masks?” It’s a subject none of us knew we’d have to be thinking about just a few years ago.
My name is Andy Keller, the founder of ChicoBag. We make reusable bags, totes, utensils, and facewear. We’ve been creating products in the reusable space for over 16 years, and have been recognized byForbes, theNew York Times, and Inc. I’m reaching out to you after a customer of ChicoBag emailed me to ask if all the information provided in your article was, in fact, true.
After reading through your article in depth, I’d like to clarify a few items for accuracy and respectfully ask for an update to your article. There are important details I think you and your readers will be interested in learning. As you well know, the most important part is educating the consumer, and you are in a great position to help.
"Since cloth masks come in a wide array of materials and designs, it’s hard to make generalizations about how effective they are."
While this was true early-on in the pandemic, the United States and Europe have since developed government-approved, international testing standards for community masks (aka non-N95 or surgical masks).
You can find them here:
Certified Community Masks: Back in 2020, NBN (Belgian standardisation organisation) and/or CEN ( European standardisation organisation) came together to provide standards for community face coverings.
ASTM F3502 - 21: The most recent standard published which you can find referenced bythe CDC here.
These standards are important to communicate to the public and large organizations navigating their way through these murky times. Rather than throwing out the cloth mask option all together, buyers, decision makers, and companies such as airlines can keep their staff safe by purchasing products that meet these rigorous health standards.
"In a test conducted by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), surgical masks were found to provide 71.5% filtration, but only when they were fitted with ties that provide a close fit on the face. Surgical masks with ear loops only offered 38.1% filtration."