A number of new safety guidelines have been issued this week following an increase in demand for face masks.
Published by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), the authority for product safety legislation in relation to both PPE and barrier masks, the guidelines state that they should:
- cover the nose and go under the chin
- fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
- be secured with ties or ear loops
- include at least two layers of fabric
- and allow for breathing without restriction.
The organisation also advised that people should not use medical/surgical or PPE masks – that these should be kept for healthcare workers – opting instead for general public wear barrier masks which may help prevent the spread of viral infection to others.
Prior to issuing, the CCPC said it has received a large number of queries from businesses and importers about what regulatory requirements apply to the various forms of masks in use.
CCPC chairperson Isolde Goggins said is important that "businesses understand that these products have fundamentally different intended purposes and are therefore regulated under different product safety regimes and agencies in Ireland".
She said different masks serve different functions and it is essential that products are safe and consumers have all the information they need to "make an informed decision".
There are three different types of face masks currently in use; medical/surgical, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and barrier face masks.
Earlier this week, a research paper published in The Lancet medical journal showcased that mutual mask-wearing has the potential to protect up to 85% of us from COVID-19.
Funded by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the study found that maintaining a distance of at least one metre and using face masks and eye protection are unparalleled when it comes to containing the virus.
Read the guidelines in full here.
Main image by @billieeilish