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How to know if a mask is 3 ply?

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In the midst and onset of the COVID-19 that puts our world to too much unrest and stress, there are a lot of surgical masks that are being sold everywhere.

But, how sure can you be that you’re not being short-changed and that you’re getting a legit 3 ply mask from a legit manufacturer?

As a consumer how would you know if it’s a 3 ply mask your getting? A good start is to buy from a legit online seller and manufacturer. They must have all accreditation and certification that their mask passed.

Their packaging must all contain the needed information in them. Usually, one give away is the ply is thinner than the original ones if they didn’t follow the 3 ply on their label.

What certification tests should a legit 3 ply mask have?

A legit manufacturer’s 3 ply mask should pass these testing to get proper certification.

It should have gone through a Bacteria filtration efficiency in vitro (BFE). This test is where the shooting of an aerosol with staphylococcus aureus bacteria at the mask at 28.3 liters per minute. This will establish the mask to be capable to block the percentage of bacteria it’s supposed to.

Next is the Particle Filtration Efficiency wherein it’s a latex particle challenge. It involves spraying an aerosol of polystyrene microspheres to ensure the mask can filter the size of the particle it’s supposed and required to.

The next test is breathing resistance that will make sure that the mask will hold its shape and have proper ventilation while the user breathes. It will be tested by shooting a flow of air at it, then measuring the difference in air pressure on all of the sides of the mask.

The fourth test is the splash resistance tests wherein the surgical mask is splashed with simulated blood using the same nature of human blood pressure to make sure that the liquid cannot penetrate and contaminate the user.

And the fifth test is the flammability test. The mask will be put on the fire to measure how slowly it catches and how long the material takes to burn. ASTM levels 1, 2, and 3 are all required to be Class 1 flame resistant.

Getting a proper mask for protection is important. However, in the surge of demand for masks, there are now many below-par or fake masks on sale that can’t protect you at all.

A legit 3 ply mask must have a three-ply layer with the innermost layer used for absorbing moisture, the middle layer is a filter to block bacteria and germs and the outermost layer to repel water, blood, and fluids.

How can I test my mask to make sure it’s 3 ply?

If you want to make sure yourself, you can try these 3 types of tests to make sure it’s a 3 ply mask.

If it is a 3-ply mask, it should need to have 3 layers and to see it for yourself is you need to cut it open and you should see 3-layers. The 3 layers would typically consist of an outer layer, middle filter layer, and inner layer. If there are no 3 layers, then it is not a 3-ply mask.

Next, a legit 3 ply mask should have a water-proof outer layer. The outer layer should be water-resistant against coughs and sneezes too. To check if your 3 ply mask is waterproof is to pour water ion its outer layer. The outer and the innermost side of your mask must not be wet.

The final test that you need to do is the middle filter layer. You need to light a fire in the middle layer and it should not catch fire and burn. Then, you have a legit 3 ply mask that can give you the full protection that you need.

You can find 3 ply mask on Amazon.


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