[vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” background_size=”auto” background_image=”12358″][vc_column][tm_heading custom_google_font=”” text=”How Good is Your Mask for Your Health? What’s Its Impact on the Environment?”][vc_column_text]Life practically changes in the blink of an eye.
One day we were going out, enjoying our lives, and freely communicating with people.
And then the pandemic hit us with the intensity of a fast-moving bullet train.
Cut to the present, today, we have masks on our faces and constant fear in our hearts.
Authorities at all levels, across the globe, have urged citizens to wear masks to protect themselves and limit the spread of the virus.
Masks have been deemed as one of the three primary ways in which we can stay protected. The other two being social distancing and frequent washing/sanitization of hands.
For the layman, the mask is a Messiah. Our only savior. A simple solution to the pandemic that shook the world.
And a wide spectrum of the global population has accepted masks as a part of the new normal.
But, are masks really that great?
Do they really protect us?
How much is the environmental impact of masks, if any?
Are masks healthy?
Well, these are just some of the burning questions that you will not find answers to. At least not easily.
The world is suffering from two deadly issues at the moment. One the virus, and second the herd mentality that we follow.
With literally no questions, we have started using the masks that are being offered to us. Some people have gone as far as to make it a style statement.
Ever so often one hears of a unique mask. It could be a medical-grade mask that promises that extra percentage of security. Or it could be a mask made from eco-friendly materials.
It might take you a while to find out how effective a mask is or what its environmental impact is. But you’ll find branded and designer masks in a jiffy.
But, we are sure you have your priorities set right. And that’s why we have tried to understand the efficacy and the environmental impact of different types of masks.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Type 1: The Medical Grade Masks

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]When we say medical-grade masks, we refer to surgical masks and N95 masks, with and without respirators.
Medical masks are usually made of polystyrene, polycarbonate, polyethylene, polyester, or other non-woven materials. They are plastic-based and liquid-resistant. And have a long afterlife, making their disposal a tricky affair.
The surgical masks are said to be effective protection against bacteria (not necessarily viruses). Also, these masks should not be worn for more than a day, and thus, the volume of their consumption is huge.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][tm_image image=”19116″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]The Efficacy

You would get hundreds (if not thousands!) of articles on the Internet telling you that the WHO advises that you wear a mask to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
That, however, is not the case.

According to the ​WHO advisory​, the following category of people medical masks:

  • Health workers
  • People with symptoms of the coronavirus
  • People caring for the suspect or confirmed patients outside of the healthcare sector
  • People over 60 years of age
  • People with underlying medical conditions
[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]This makes one thing clear. People not falling under the above mentioned DO NOT need to wear the medical mask.

But, misinformation has already done the deed. More and more people have started wearing medical masks to safeguard themselves from the virus.
Add the medical and healthcare workers who actually need these masks, and the total demand for them becomes exorbitantly high.
And these masks are adding to the clinical debris problem that the world is facing. Medical masks are lining up the shores. They are posing a risk, as potent, if not more, as the coronavirus to the people who come in contact with the used masks.
This list includes garbage collectors, cleaners, other such workers. And, of course, among the ones most adversely affected by these masks is nature.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Button line on medical masks: ​While medical masks are the most effective in limiting the spread of the virus, they also pose the most risk to the environment. People who do not absolutely need it should refrain from using it. Proper disposal methods should be adopted to reduce the environmental harm that they cause.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” background_image=”19119″][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Type 2: Cloth Masks

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Cloth masks, mostly made of cotton are fast emerging as an alternate to the medical-grade masks. You can reduce the petroleum-based components of the medical masks if you use the cotton mask. But, its efficacy and the environmental impact is still debatable.
While the direct effect of use and disposal is minimal, the fact that they are cotton-made is what makes a big difference.
Cotton is a natural fiber, but it is not the best when considered from an environmental viewpoint. It takes up a lot of water, fertilizers, and land, and the overall carbon footprint of cotton itself is huge.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][tm_image image=”19114″][tm_spacer size=”lg:13″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_column_text]Globally, eco-friendly fabrics are getting attention because of the massive problems associated with cotton farming. Hemp has emerged as a sustainable, viable, and convenient replacement for cotton in most use cases.
When cotton is used to make face masks, the result is a magnified impact on nature.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The Efficacy

Even if we ignore the negative effect of cotton face masks, the​WHO recommendations are also not in support of them.
Fabric masks should be used, as per WHO, in settings where physical distancing is not possible. It, however, does not recommend the widespread use of such masks by the masses. This is primarily due to the lack of evidence about its efficacy.
If you are using cloth masks made of cotton, you cannot be sure that you are safe. You should follow other precautions too. What you can be sure of is the fact that your mask is doing no good to nature.
Button line about cotton-based fabric masks: The efficiency of the cloth mask in protecting the wearer against the virus is low and debatable. But, the environmental damage that it causes is visible, huge, and on the rise. Hemp masks are anti-bacterial, hypo-allergic and environment friendly. Visit our page and checkout hemp masks manufactured by us.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Type 3: Other types of Face Coverings

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Face coverings are also being used as a precaution against the coronavirus. Bandanas and neck gaiters are being increasingly used, especially by the younger generations.[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]The Efficacy

A recent ​study suggests that while bandanas offered little to no protection, gaiters actually heightened the risk. Made of fleece, they cause the droplets to split into smaller particles and thus increase their reach, and the possibility of spread.

The bottom line about the face coverings: These types of face coverings may not cause any added impact on the environment, but also don’t offer protection. Much worse, they increase the risk of the virus being spread.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][tm_image image=”19117″][tm_spacer size=”lg:13″][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row full_width=”stretch_row” background_image=”19120″][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Should You Ditch the Mask then?

[/vc_column_text][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner][vc_column_text]No. Not at all.
Everything being said, masks still remain a way to limit (to whatever extent) the spread of coronavirus.
However, it is time you start focusing on the material of the mask to make a decision that is safe for you and nature.
For that, you should do three things:

  • Leave medical-grade masks for those who actually need it.
  • Ditch the cotton face masks and other types of face coverings like hemp masks for sure.
  • And the most important thing that you need to do now is to find a material that works for both, you and nature like hemp masks.
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