Beware, there are many fake and falsely certified “surgical face masks” being offered in the market at extortionist prices. Due to supply and demand of both the raw materials and finished product, we have seen prices of more than thirty times the market prices before the CoVID-19 pandemic and most of the face masks that are available are substandard.
In the last week alone Pinnacle Protection Enterprises reviewed 9 different medical face masks and only 2 samples passed a basic requirement evaluation. Obviously full laboratory analysis is ideal but is not ordinarily necessary if certifications are all valid.
We recommend buying from a reputable supplier, and preferably a supplier who has listed with the Medicine Control Council.
7 Reasons To Buy Surgical Face Masks From Reputable Suppliers And Resellers
- FIRST time manufacturers, mostly Chinese, have entered the market without the requisite know-how, are not using the correct materials and are without valid certifications. While it takes time to register and get product approved, most claim to be offering certified or approved products. We have found many of these documents and products non-compliant even when subjected to basic checking.
- TWO of the nine face mask samples tested in the week did not have a melt blown filter layer. This is the most critical layer in a surgical face mask and provides the requisite filtration.
- THREE of the nine face masks tested had poor ear loop welds, which would have resulted in a high failure rate when fitting and during wear. This could leave the wearer completely exposed at a critical time.
- FOUR of the nine face masks tested had pin-holes in the filter layer which would leave the wearer exposed. In these cases the melt blown layer is substandard or not properly certified. You should not see any pin-holes in this layer with the naked eye or with a magnifying glass with a certified and compliant melt blown filter layer.
- FIVE of the nine face masks reviewed had “certifications” which could not be ratified.
- The SIXTH check is for airflow, you should not be able to blow out the flame on a cigarette lighter while wearing a surgical face mask. Also without exertion you should be able to reasonably comfortably inhale if the filter has the correct airflow, and six samples failed our basic test. Of course a laboratory test is required to properly assess this critical aspect.
- SEVEN out of nine surgical face masks tested failed. In addition, none of the samples tested had side tape, and while this may not be critical the side tape assists to ensure that the face mask sits properly on the face, makes it more durable and ensures ear loops are securely attached. Side tape normally differentiates a surgical face mask from a FFP1 level face mask.
While there are some basic checks you can do, if you know what you are looking for, we recommend buying from a respected supplier like Pinnacle Protection Enterprises before spending money on a face mask that only offers the perception of being protected.