Cloth surgical masks are no match for serious air pollution

One way people in Taiwan have been combating air pollution is by wearing surgical masks. There are many types on the market, but a health expert has cautioned that flat and cloth masks aren”t preventive and have the same effect as wearing nothing at all. He reminded viewers that a mask must be worn correctly and that simply putting it on for safety”s sake is not enough.Many people always have a surgical mask with them, as they’re seen as a must for everything from scooter rides to cold weather days. But not every type of surgical mask is effective for protection against PM 2.5 particulates. Chen Chih-chiehNTU College of Public Health ProfessorIf [the surgical mask] is not three-dimensional, or if it’s flat, then it won’t be very close-fitting. There needs to be a support layer underneath the protective layer, because the middle is where the real filter is. Regular [filter layers] use charged fibers; the more charge they have, the more effective the static electric attraction will be.Chen said cloth surgical masks and regular flat surgical masks are not very effective at filtering and they aren’t water resistant as well. Wearing them is essentially the same as not wearing a mask. N95 masks are great at protecting, but they do have a trade-off: they are difficult to breathe through, so people cannot wear them for a long time.Huang Te-wangSurgical Mask Factory General ManagerIf you’re only going to be outside for a short while then using a medical surgical mask is good enough. Distributors have recently ordered everything I have. In one day I can produce about 300,000 pieces, and I have a one month backlog of orders right now. Air pollution warnings have occurred throughout Taiwan in the last few days. Only by wearing the right surgical masks properly can people protect themselves against pollution.


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