Manufacturers warn about the danger of homemade masks, which will bring a false sense of security. Especially health professionals should not receive such masks. Cross-contamination during cleaning and reuse of masks can cause transmission of the virus.

The crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has made it clear that unity is unending, but while the intention is good, the result may not be the case. The Association of Personal Protection Equipment Companies (ASEPAL) has asked the authorities to take action against the production of masks for health professionals and the general population because they cause a “false sense of protection” against the virus.

As the organization explained, despite the “overwhelming” quality of staff in these initiatives, due to masks (whether used as medical devices or personal protective equipment (PPE)), this is a complex protection barrier that meets the basic requirements that are essential for real, effective protection. Otherwise, the equipment provided will not really provide sufficient protection.

“The materials used in the handmade masks have not passed the corresponding quality assurance procedures. In many cases, we find that these materials will not pass the corresponding standards. Therefore, in any case, such non-professional masks (especially health professionals) or consumers provide protective measures because they may have an incorrect sense of protection,” he warned.

He therefore emphasized the importance of the “safety” of the masks provided, which means that manufacturers must ensure compliance with the basic requirements of applicable laws. “The problem here is that not everyone has the capacity to guarantee this fact. Some industries are adjusting their production processes to manufacture protective equipment. Standards and technical specifications need to be met, and he and the designated institutions have carried out procedures to verify that the protective measures provided can effectively withstand this risk.

Cleaning and reusing masks

In this sense, it has drawn people’s attention to the process of cleaning and reusing these masks, and this process is also constantly spreading. And, as explained, the cross-contamination that can occur during this process can cause the virus to spread instead of being eliminated during the cleaning process.

The organization should ensure that any cleaning or reuse procedures must be explicitly authorized by the product manufacturer, as unauthorized cleaning will seriously affect the protective performance of the product. Similarly, repeated use beyond the lifetime of the product provided by the manufacturer will not provide “any assurance” as to whether the product remains safe.

Therefore, ASEPAL requires authorities to communicate “effectively” if this type of mask does not provide adequate protection for workers, and during use, should be replaced with equipment as soon as possible.

“We are aware of the strong demand for protective equipment and the desperate measures that some medical professionals have taken to protect themselves, but if these measures are not safe, unfortunately the effect can be reversed,” he said.