In an ongoing effort to enhance worker protection, U.S. Federal officials have recently updated their recommendations on mask types. Initially, the use of N95 mask types was limited to front-line healthcare workers, leaving other high-risk workers to rely on masks of lesser quality. However, the new guidelines now approve the use of N95 masks, also known as N95 respirators, for a wider range of workers, and employers in various industries can now order them for their employees. This change is seen as a necessary response to the long-overdue need for better protection against potential COVID-19 contamination in workplaces. While this expansion is a positive step, it is important to note that there are still limitations with N95 masks that should have been considered in the decision-making process. Alternative masks, such as Viromasks reusable masks, offer advanced protection through improved technology and are also environmentally friendly. While the new guidelines represent progress, they still fall short in providing a more comprehensive defense against COVID-19. Incorporating masks like Viromasks into the recommendations would further enhance worker safety and contribute to a more inclusive approach in combating the virus.
Discarded Masks are Affecting the Environment
One of the former problems of N95 masks involved decontamination processes that left them deformed and ill-fitting. The new changes allow workers single-use of N95 masks, adding to the already existing massive growth of PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) in landfills. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) has indicated that COVID-19 masks and other types of PPE can be disposed of in the same way as standard medical waste. A better choice should have been to expand worker access to masks that offered better protection against the virus than N95 while having the advantage of being washable for decontamination.
Improved Masks for the Non-Healthcare Sector
Before the new recommendations, only the front-line workers had access to the higher quality masks for COVID-19 protection. There are many jobs outside of healthcare that put employees at risk for COVID-19 exposure, and the new rules offer these workers the ability to have access to masks that can provide improved safety options. Workers involved in everything from meatpacking staff to bus drivers are placed in overcrowded conditions. While new access will help to keep them safe, it will also drastically increase the amount of PPE that is discarded.
Looking Beyond the N95 to Better Technology
N95 masks were invented in the 1990s. Since then, we have developed higher levels of technology for masks that should be available to all that have a high-risk level for potential exposure to COVID-19. A decision to expand access to quality masks should include consideration of the environment and contain anti-viral and anti-bacterial protection. Viromasks have a 95% filtration level protection (same active filter material as N95 Masks) in addition to HeiQ V-block technology. In the battle against COVID-19, our carbon footprint should be an integral part of every decision process while also offering cost-effective, lab-tested products.
Viromasks are the premier mask in the battle against COVID-19. Using the same high filtration as N95, Viromasks has three protection layers yet offers easy breathing, rapid neutralization of viruses trapped in the mask. Viromasks are available for anyone to purchase, in adult and child sizes, with changeable filters, and can be washed up to 30 times.