A face mask, often called a full face mask, is typicall […]
A face mask, often called a full face mask, is typically a soft, breathable cloth mask worn over the nose and mouth, designed to control breathing and prevent wind-churning caused by outside temperature fluctuations. While effective nonwoven masks may not currently be available, when physical distancing is completely impossible, and even when better masks are unavailable, fabric face masks can offer superior comfort and fit for any worker in any industry. With improvements in material technology and manufacturing processes, facial masks using 100% natural materials have become available.
One of the most important considerations in selecting a face mask material is noise reduction. The use of masking with a low or Class 1 filter will reduce extraneous noise that is commonly associated with various types of manufacturing processes. Typically, it is common for material used in manufacturing to have a high level of intrinsic noise, which makes any sound that comes from the machine irritating to the worker. A high quality Class 1 filter will effectively block noise that is generated by the machinery itself, as well as noise from the rollers or other parts that can cause mechanical noise. In addition to reducing extraneous noise, a high Class 1 filter will also prevent particles of material that may be contaminated by dust or other airborne contaminants from entering the machine.
High quality face masks should feature a high degree of moisture resistance. A high moisture level will help to prevent condensation between the face mask material and the skin, which can potentially cause dermatitis. A high moisture level will also help to prevent the formation of bacteria, which can be a potential health hazard. Some manufacturers are using proprietary processes to provide a higher moisture level in their products, but most will maintain an acceptable moisture level within the specifications set by the Food and Drug Administration.
A respirator performs many functions, but it is primarily designed to protect the wearer from particulates in the ambient air. Respirators are generally comprised of a facemask or particulate cover, which covers the user's nose and mouth. Other elements can also be included in the design, including custom fit gloves, bioprofiling strips, and a chin guard. The most commonly used components of a respirator include the particulate filter and the air duct. The particulate filter removes larger than normal airborne particles from the air, while the air duct helps to transport the air to the face mask and other components.
Another factor that manufacturers will take into consideration when crafting a quality face mask material is thread count. Thread count refers to the number of threads per inch of face mask fabric. The higher the thread count, the more durable and comfortable the mask will be. There are three different classifications for thread count, which include zero, one, and two. The majority of face masks sold today will fall into the two category categories.
When shopping for quality materials for a respirator, it is important to find out if the manufacturer uses a polyethylene material or a polypropylene material. Both are durable and resistant to abrasion and stains, but the polyethylene will be more expensive. However, it does have less bulk and will retain its shape when stitched together with other fabrics. Many people prefer the lightweight feel of a polypropylene mask because of its ability to be more tightly packed into its small package.
Breathability is another important factor to consider when looking at quality face masks. The higher the breathability, the better for the wearer. Typically, there are five to seven layers of breathability and one to three layers of stability. If a mask has more than three layers of breathability, it may not breathe well at all, which could contribute to overheating during the summertime.
In terms of strength, a mask should have at least ten layers of fabric that each have ten to fifteen tiny holes in them. The tiny holes allow air to pass through the mask. Each hole also allows a small amount of moisture to escape as well, keeping the wearer cool. Some fabrics are stiffer than others, which could make them less effective, but many recommend purchasing a stiffener mask if the need arises. Choosing a product that features high breathability and stability will maximize its effectiveness in fighting the elements.