Why Your Mask Matters
DISCLAIMER: Any information on our website, including but not limited to blog posts, is only meant for your general reference and should not be taken as medical advice. Our mask design was created after researching what the CDC and other health professionals recommended for masks intended for personal use, however, we cannot claim any expertise in any medical field.
Masks have become the new reality for many of us. We see them every day, as we make our way to work, shop for groceries, or even go for a casual walk. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes, from disposable masks and makeshift bandanas to luxurious silk coverings. But having such variety to choose from begs the question: which mask is the best, and does it really matter which one we choose?
Recent studies listed on the CDC's page answer a vital part of that question by revealing which mask is the worst: the complete absence of one. No matter the material or shape of a mask, any mask is better than no mask at all. That being said, recent studies also show cloth masks made out of cotton material or cotton hybrids perform better in terms of filtering droplets, especially when these have multiple layers. Another study comparing various masks found that neck fleeces (made of polyester and spandex) were the least effective in this respect. The fit of a mask is important as well; any gaps in a mask can reduce how efficient it is.
But determining whether a mask is 'good' or not goes beyond its efficiency. Our choice in mask can have an environmental impact, for better or for worse. An article by The Guardian reports on the findings of a French non-profit organization, Opération Mer Propre, which is dedicated to the conservation of oceans' ecosystems. The organization warns of the danger disposable masks pose to ocean wildlife, with so many people using multiple masks and discarding them within the same day. This extensive use of disposable masks only adds to the strain on an already dire situation; plastic pollution was already at a critical level, with 300 million tons being produced in a year according to the UN. Coupled with the fact that healthcare workers often face shortages of disposable masks and other vital equipment, it has become increasingly clear that choosing which mask to wear on a day-to-day basis is a more important decision than you might think.
Every bit of effort to help keep the environment clean and support health care workers goes a long way. Using reusable masks– that is, masks that can be washed and worn again rather than thrown away after one use– is an easy way to contribute to both causes. During these difficult times, it's more important than ever to remember the positive change individuals can bring to their community and the world around them, through something as simple as the mask they wear.