How to know if your mask is good

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the demand for masks worldwide, but also the frauds around this indispensable tool. The number of defective masks that do not meet the guarantees of protection has skyrocketed, but you can make sure your mask is good by following our advices!

THE KEY IS IN THE LABEL

To ensure that you protect yourself and your loved ones with good masks against the coronavirus, you need to pay attention to one part of every product that often goes largely unnoticed: the label.

Regardless of their category and origin, masks must be accompanied by a label or small document detailing the name of the product, size (very important for protecting the little ones in the house!), duration of use, instructions of use, composition of the material and maintenance. This also applies to masks bought on the Internet - get away your wallet for products that do not include these specifications!

In addition, each type of mask must be labelled with specific quality seals that guarantee the highest quality standards.

UNE AND EC, QUALITY GUARANTEES

The UNE is the Spanish Association for Standardisation, a public institution that verifies that certain products have been manufactured according to specific technical criteria. The products that comply with its specifications have on their labels the initials 'UNE' followed by a number.  On the other hand, the European Certificate (EC) is a quality seal that is included on the masks and thousands of other products and that guarantees that the specific product complies with European regulations.

Finding either or both of these indicators on the masks we buy will be a clear indication that they are of good quality.

In the case of hygienic masks, they should include the specifications UNE 0064-1 and UNE 0064-2 (disposable for adults and for children respectively) or UNE 0065 (reusable). They must also include the BFE (Bacterial Filtration Efficiency) indicator, which must be equal to or greater than 95% (disposable) and equal to or greater than 90% (reusable). Breathability must be less than 60 Pa/CM2.

As indicated by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, some masks comply with specifications other than those of the UNE. This may be because they have not reached the UNE quality standard or because they have undergone other tests with other standards.

Those that do not have specifications have not been tested or verified, so it is not possible to guarantee their effectiveness. This is the case of the handmade masks, whose distribution has been permitted in Spain during the pandemic as long as they meet certain requirements, as we have pointed out on another occasion [link to the part of the guide to masks].

Surgical masks must be labelled with the European (EC) certificate, the reference to the UNE EN 14683 standard and the type of mask (I or II). Finally, the masks must include the CE mark, the reference to the UNE EN-149 standard and the NR (Non-Reusable) or R (Reusable) mark.

If you follow these instructions, we guarantee that the masks you buy will be of excellent quality. By protecting ourselves and others, we will beat the COVID-19!

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