Most masks work, but care must be exercised

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Most masks work, but care must be exercised

Most face masks tested recently by a consumer group work as advertised, with only one failing.

The Daejeon and South Chungcheong branch of the Voice for Consumers tested 20 masks for their ability to protect wearers against particulate pollutants, and 19 provided the level of protection equal to or better than that claimed on the packaging.

All 20 products passed purity tests, which checked for chemicals such as formaldehyde.

YJ Corporation’s large-sized YJCM3 product, sold as a Korea Filter (KF) 94 mask, filtered only 87 percent of particulate matter compared to its advertised amount - 94 percent.

The KF mark indicates the percentage of particulate matter filtered.

The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has ordered the YJ Corporation mask that failed the test to be recalled and discarded. Production may also be stopped for violating pharmaceutical laws. The organization also checked 50 mask products for the level of information on the packaging, and it found that six did not provide sufficient information. It also reported that some 3M Nexcare mask products, past their expiration period of 36 months, were being sold.

The group recommended consumers check for correct labeling on masks and also not to crumple or reuse masks, as that can reduce effectiveness. It explained that even the slightest pressure on the filter can damage it.

The tests, which used sodium chloride particles with a diameter of 0.6 microns, were conducted by a government laboratory at the request of the consumer group. Fine dust particles are smaller than 2.5 microns.

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