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Which style of face mask protects better?

The EPA study says the material of the mask is not as important as the craftsmanship.
Published: Sep. 22, 2021 at 12:05 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 22, 2021 at 12:06 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Masks are an important part of the fight against COVID-19. It’s important to remember the mask protects others from contracting the disease.

“It’s really important for all of us to respect each other. To stay home if we have a cough, but if we might cough, wearing a mask protects those around you.” Dr. Karen Kent, Chief Medical and Quality Officer at Sparrow Hospital.

But is there a difference in the protection provided based on the style of mask you wear?

According to a study from the Environmental Protection Agency, the answer is yes. A study published in April showed a three-layer knit mask only blocked about 26% of particles. A two-layer, woven mask with a nose bridge blocked about 79% of particles, a stark difference.

Dr. Kent said regardless of the style, any mask is better than no mask at all.

“I was actually walking through an airport the other day and saw someone take their mask off their ear, cough into their hand, and put their mask back on,” Dr. Kent said. “I thought ‘my gosh, apparently we’re unclear on the concept here.’ So, you really have to think about what you’re doing when you have your mask on: it’s to keep your droplets to yourself, and also there are some studies that show we touch our faces less when we have masks on.”

The EPA study says the material of the mask is not as important as the craftsmanship. A certain fabric performed as well as medical masks. Researchers say the most important thing is that it covers your nose and mouth.

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