What does the FDA say about using carbon filters with masks?

FDA

FDA stands for Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is a federal agency that ensures the safety and protection of the public by checking if the products used by the public are safe or not. They check the safety and effectiveness of the product by checking whether human drugs, veterinary drugs, cosmetic products, biological products, vaccines, and medical devices are safe for the public or not. The FDA approves the product if the product is safe for the public. The FDA runs a series of tests to determine the effectiveness and safety of the products that the normal public uses. 

Face mask filters

Face mask filters are layers of materials that filter out harmful airborne particles and certain aerosols from entering an individual’s body. The more effective the face mask filters, the more airborne particles it will filter out. Therefore, a mask must have a good face mask filter so that it can filter out harmful airborne particles from entering the wearer’s body. There are various types of face mask filters. They include HEPA filters, cloth filters, and carbon filters. 

HEPA filters

The full form of HEPA is High-Efficiency Particulate Air. The HEPA filter has been designed for the filtration of fine particles. However, the HEPA filter cannot filter out gases or other harmful molecules. HEPA filters can be found in the majority of the air purifiers because they are used for the purification of air. It is a mechanical air filter that is ninety-nine percent effective at filtering out harmful airborne particles. These harmful airborne particles include dust, dirt, pollen, and bacteria, etc.

Cloth filters

Some experts have said that there are no specialized filters that are effective at the filtration of harmful airborne particles. What matters is the thread count of the cloth filter. Some cloth filters effectively filter out harmful airborne particles from entering an individual’s body. Researchers determined that a cloth filter must have two layers of cloth for effective filtration of harmful airborne particles. Research has shown that two layers of cloth are effective at trapping and filtering out harmful airborne particles. Cotton is the most effective cloth filter since it is thick and has a large amount of thread count.

Carbon filters

Carbon filters are a filtration method that traps and removes all the harmful airborne particles present in the air. Harmful airborne particles chemically react with carbon filters after coming in contact with them. Harmful airborne particles are trapped in the carbon filters after chemically reacting with them. Therefore, aerosols and harmful airborne particles get trapped after coming in contact with the carbon filters. Carbon filters are used as a layer of protection for filtering out aerosols and hazardous airborne particles. Carbon filters are used for the purification of air. However, studies have shown that carbon filters are effective at filtering out viral infections and infectious agents. 

In addition to that, various other filters effectively filter out harmful airborne particles. The one thing an individual ought to understand is that filters are just for added protection. The N95 respirators are the ones that adequately protect an individual and keep an individual safe from harmful airborne particles. Filters are just an addition, but the N95 respirator can combat hazardous viral infections like the novel coronavirus without any hesitation. No filter is better than the other. Every filter is somehow good at keeping an individual safe from harmful airborne particles.

FDA on the use of carbon filters with masks

The FDA has said that Chinese-made carbon filters are not that effective at the filtration of harmful airborne particles. Inadequate protection against certain aerosols and hazardous airborne particles is another reason why carbon filters are not that effective at keeping an individual safe. Transmissible airborne particles can infect an individual who wears masks with carbon filters. The FDA has said that such filters are not as safe as people consider them. Furthermore, they are not as effective against the novel coronavirus as people think it is. 

NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) had tested the efficiency and effectiveness of masks with carbon filters. They ran a series of tests to check the effectiveness of such respirators, and they concluded at the end that respirators with such filters are not effective at the filtration of harmful airborne particles. In addition to that, they said that such filters are not effective at keeping the healthcare professionals protected from COVID-19, according to tests they ran. 

The FDA has got a lot of knowledge regarding the performance and design of the respirators. Therefore, they have urged the healthcare professionals and the public to not decontaminate or sterilize such respirators with such filters. 

Conclusion

There are different types of filters. Filters additionally protect an individual from harmful airborne particles like dust, dirt, and pollen, etc. The FDA has said that the usage of certain filters is not as effective at keeping an individual safe from harmful airborne particles like infectious agents and viral infections. Furthermore, certain filters do not adequately protect the healthcare providers, doctors, nurses, and physicians from the novel coronavirus. 

NIOSH had also tested the effectiveness of such filters, and they concluded that the usage of such filters is not effective against the novel coronavirus since such filters are not strong enough to withstand the magnitude of this virus. However, such filters can be used against particles like dust, dirt, and pollen, etc.

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