More and more reusable mouth masks that are offered for sale today bear Centexbel’s “Covid19-approved” label. This also applies to the Alsico Mask type C, which you will find on this site. But what exactly does this label stand for?

Today we look at the mouth mask label that was recently launched by Centexbel, the Belgian institute responsible for the certification of textile materials.

In Belgium there is the Covid19-approved label, the Netherlands have their NEN-spec-for-non-medical-mouthmasks. The interesting thing is that the Alsico Mask type C complies with both set of rules. But let’s take a closer look at how these rules have surged.

The need for a clear hallmark has arisen from the sudden and extremely varied range of reusable mouth masks, also known as the “comfort masks” that we discussed in a previous post. At a time when everyone was behind the sewing machine and all kinds of textile companies switched to the production of masks, the government felt that a directive should be introduced.

This came in the form of the technical document NBN / DTD S65-001: 2020, in full “Community and Artisan masks – Guide of minimum requirements, manufacture, maintenance and use”. The document is a set of technical criteria and guidelines that describe exactly what a ‘community mask’ must meet. To be clear, this is a supporting document – not a standard or an obligation – that is a recommendation for anyone who produces mouth masks.

The document contains two sections that clearly indicate the minimums in terms of filtration capacity and air permeability. And let these two criteria – as previously seen – determine the quality / reliability of a mouth mask.

With the label, Centexbel says it wants to “support the companies in their efforts to produce high-performance and safe community mouth masks.” In other words, they want to clearly indicate where the bar is in terms of filtration and air permeability for masks that are now distributed or offered for sale.

So, masks that carry the label can rest assured that they will meet the two set minimums according to the test methods described in the document. But it does not rule out the possibility that a mask without a label can also perform. After all, other test methods might as well demonstrate filtration capacity and breathability.

The label is awarded for a maximum of one year. Subsequently, the substances must be presented again for certification. Centexbel itself also clearly states that even with the label the so-called “community masks” should be considered as an extra security tool and will never replace the basic guidelines of physical distance and hand hygiene. Above all, let’s remember that well.

In a next post we will talk about the filter that you will soon get in your mailbox.

#masks, #facemask, #mask, # covid19, #coronavirus, #socialdistancing, #whywearamask, #washyourhands