A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine shows that wearing two face coverings can nearly double the effectiveness of filtering out SARS-CoV-2-sized particles, preventing them from reaching the wearer’s nose and mouth and causing COVID-19. The reason for the enhanced filtration isn’t so much adding layers of cloth, but eliminating any gaps or poor-fitting areas of a mask.
To test the fitted filtration efficiency (FFE) of a range of masks, UNC researchers worked with James Samet, PhD, and colleagues in the USEPA Human Studies Facility on the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. There they filled a 10-foot by 10-foot stainless-steel exposure chamber with small salt particle aerosols, and had researchers don combinations of masks to test how effective they were at keeping particles out of their breathing space.
Each individual mask or layered mask combination was fitted with a metal sample port, which was attached to tubing in the exposure chamber that measured the concentration of particles entering the breathing space underneath the researcher’s mask. A second tube measured the ambient concentration of particles in the chamber. By measuring particle concentration in the breathing space underneath the mask compared to that in the chamber, researchers determined the FFE.
Release date: 16 April 2021
Source: University of North Carolina Health Care