What kind of mask do you usually use? We here in Japan often see people in the city wearing polyurethane masks and cloth masks, which can be washed and used over and over. In fact, there are more people who are using these than non-woven masks. But did you know that polyurethane masks and cloth masks are said to be meaningless against viruses like COVID?
Here, we would like to explain this mask problem in detail along with the doctor's opinion.
Are polyurethane masks really meaningless?
First, I would like to explain the background behind the concentration of criticisms of such polyurethane masks.
Last December, the simulation results of the splash prevention effect of each mask material were calculated by the supercomputer "Tomitake" and the result was announced by the National Research and Development Corporation "RIKEN", this attracted a lot of attention.
According to this simulation, the amount of "spouting droplets" to others was decreased about 80% with the non-woven mask, while it was only about 50% decreased with the polyurethane mask.
In other words, the amount of droplets guarded by a non-woven mask can be suppressed to about 20%. The amount of droplets discharged by a polyurethane mask is 2-3 times more than non-woven, which means that this increases the risk of infecting others.
As a result of this research, the criticism of people wearing polyurethane masks is increasing.
In addition, it is important not to pass on the COVID viruses to others. But if you do not get infected in the first place, you do not have to worry about passing them to others. Which means that preventing getting infected is the most important.
The risk of such infection prevention can be checked by "Flugge droplets". Non-woven masks can cut about 70%, but meanwhile polyurethane masks can only cut about 30-40%.
In other words, the non-woven mask can reduce the amount of droplets inhaled to about 30%, but the polyurethane mask marks more than twice that amount.
As a result, it can be said from this experiment, that the polyurethane mask is less than half the protection compared to the non-woven mask from the viewpoint of discharging and inhaling the amount of droplets.
Furthermore, a study by Dr. Shuichi Nishimura, director of the Virus Center, Clinical Research Department, Sendai Medical Center, National Hospital Organization, reported that the effectiveness of the polyurethane mask marked lower scores for droplets size of 5 μm or smaller.
The non-woven mask had a fine particle removal performance of 98.4% for 2.0-5.0 μm particles and 90% or more for 0.3-0.5 μm particles, while the polyurethane mask only had a particle removal performance of 1% or less for all particles of 5.0 μm or less. The experimental result is saying that the polyurethane masks performance is 0%.
From the above, it was suggested that the infection prevention effect of polyurethane masks may be significantly inferior to that of non-woven masks.
Should we avoid using polyurethane masks?
However, the preventive effect of polyurethane masks is near zero but not completely zero. Of course, it is way better to wear a polyurethane mask compared to walking around without wearing any mask.
Some people may have to use them for reasons like the skin troubles caused by wearing the non-woven mask. Therefore, here are some important points to note when using a polyurethane mask.
First of all, be sure to follow the usage limit according to the instructions. Just because it can be washed does not mean that this mask can be used forever.
Polyurethane masks deteriorate with each use and wash, and the splash removal function gradually declines. Therefore, most polyurethane masks have a usage limit. Make sure to follow the limit mentioned in the instruction.
You should also choose a place to use according to your risk. If you are going to a dense place, use a non-woven mask that is highly effective. And if you are going to a place where the risk of infection is low, use a polyurethane mask. It is better to use it properly according to the situation.
For those who avoid using non-woven masks due to rough skin, it is considered effective to use a non-woven mask over the polyurethane mask.
Recommend are the non-woven masks
If you can choose, we highly recommend a non-woven mask. From the above results, it is the non-woven mask that maximizes the effect of infection prevention.
There are now woven masks of various colors, sizes and thicknesses on the market. Colored masks look very fashionable if you choose the color according to your fashion. Find your favorite color mask now and enjoy wearing them!