Face coverings are the unavoidable conversation everyone is having these days — and with good reason. Numerous studies and health experts have advised the public that masks and face coverings “help reduce the transmission of droplets” that are believed to spread COVID-19 and other viruses.
According to an article recently published in the Wall Street Journal, “Face masks are emerging as one of the most powerful weapons to fight the novel coronavirus, with growing evidence that facial coverings help prevent transmission—even if an infected wearer is in close contact with others.” The article also notes that N95 masks are “considered among the most effective, but [are] typically reserved for health-care workers.”
With the ongoing short supply of N95 masks, you’ve most likely heard from family or friends about KN95 masks.
Many people have questions when they first hear KN95 like what is a KN95 mask — and how is it different from an N95 mask?
A chart with comparative data published by 3M examines different types of filtering face-piece respirators and explains the differences and similarities.
While “N95 masks are the U.S. standard for respirator masks; KN95 masks are the Chinese standard for masks.” according to 3M, which manufactures both types of masks, “it is reasonable to consider” KN95 masks “equivalent” to N95 masks.
The most critical comparison point for most users is the amount of filtering protection provided. In this case, both masks are rated to block 95 percent of particulate matter as small as 0.3 micron particles.
Although the CDC continues to recommend people wear masks in public “where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” the majority of people you see in public are wearing cloth or fabric face masks considering widespread mask mandates and virus concerns. The CDC recently updated their guidance noting that certain face coverings are much less effective than others and a neck-gaiter covering can actually increase the amount of droplets spread making it less effective than no mask at all.
Unlike cloth or fabric masks which can be washed and reused, KN95 masks are meant to be disposable.
When purchasing a KN95 mask it is critical to do your research on the masks before purchasing. The best quality KN95 masks are included on the FDA Emergency Use Authorization List which is approved and monitored by the CDC in cooperation with NIOSH.
The best KN95 option we’ve found is the DR.MFYAN KN95 mask with individually sealed packages, this mask is included in the Appendix A – FDA Emergency Use Authorization List and manufactured in an FDA registered facility with CE certification.