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Face mask testing

Masks with air valves likely defeat the effectiveness of masks. These air valves typically open when you breath out.

Many users relate wearing masks for protection. As a virus control they are most effective when worn by some one who is potentially Infected. IE they keep the virus in, not out.

Hence air valves allow the virus to be exhaled, if infected. They also deliver a false sense of security to some as a substitute.

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This is my opinion.

I think the fact of “Literally wearing a mask” is a form of hightened cognisance of the virus and it’s infectious potential. Thus it may lead people to take the Virus more seriously and hopefully reduce the slacking off, and the " I’m really over the virus and everything about the virus attitude".

It will be interesting to see the stories and sometimes false stories that come out of this enforced “directive”.


The ones I have have a fine mesh filter as ‘the valve’ that does in fact slightly flex, but behind it is a 5 layer filter. Nothing gets to the valve without going through the filter. Therein lies another issue, filter management.

Short of a full on hazmat/virus kit, whatever we don is going to have weaknesses that will vary per individual.


That’s reassuring. The half face moulded masks I’m familiar with do not. One more item to assess with face masks. I’m not anti mask. Wearing one, any mask is great for messaging as well as the more direct virus risk reduction benefits when properly used.

The following is not definitive, and a little dated. As an example it demonstrates the complexities and variations observed in testing masks. The testing assesses the relative performance of a sample set of N95/P2 half face masks vs surgical masks.

Interestingly for the mask samples chosen.
The exhalation valve on N95 filtering facepiece respirators is designed to ease the wearer’s breathing when the wearer has difficulty exhaling through the respirator due to filter resistance. Our results show that the N95 filtering facepiece respirator with an exhalation valve will not lose its ability to protect wearers from the exposure to airborne particles in the bacterial and viral size range. Aerosol penetration through the exhalation valve was also investigated for half-facepiece negative-pressure respirators by Brosseau (1998), who found that the penetration values were about 0.03–0.04%, indicating no valve failure. N95 filtering facepiece respirators with valves appear to be a good alternative when wearers feel uncomfortable wearing an N95 filtering facepiece respirator without a valve. It should be noted, however, that the valve may allow the spread of any infectious agents that are carried by the respirator wearer.


And from my experience, the usage is patchy.

Just recently flew with Qantas (regional to city in WA). We were all offered masks, about 10% of passengers took them. NOT ONE person who wore a mask was wearing it correctly.
I saw masks under nose, Masks UNDER CHIN (like wtf people) masks upside down (compromising the seal at the top), masks inside out, people constantly touching the front of their masks to check they were on or something…
Every single one rendered next to useless by poor wearing behaviour.
Ironic in a relatively low risk situation where they were 100% optional and not even encouraged :roll_eyes:


I venture to think they may have been new mask users. Without ‘fasten your seatbelt’ instructions grabbing a mask is a wondrous experience the first time. Some will only go through the motions while others don’t know about the top strip to bend around the nose or how to tell the inside from the outside.

Maybe a glass half full is that 10% took them although failed to use them properly while an empty glass is reflected by the other 90%.

Many world airlines are making them mandatory to fly now. But not Qantas, at least not yet, excepting to/from Victoria.


IMHO etc etc

There’s 2 rough categories of mask wearers:

  1. Wearing a (fit tested, P2 or N95 mask) as part of your Personal Protective Equipment

. (ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

  1. Then there is everyone else
    For which (IMHO) the primary aim is to limit and reduce the chance of the wearer infecting anyone else … to slow the spread to give the health system time to trace, quarantine and test.

1.5m distancing, good hand hygiene and cough etiquette (+ now mask wearing) … small inconveniences we do because we care about our mates!
(and we want to be able to go out and play with them and not have to stand in the naughty corner inside :wink: )


I appreciate there’s a subset of the 2nd group who bridge the gap into the first as they’re in an at risk category … both my parents currently in USA and both in said category (both well and have been taking it seriously since January).
At that point it goes well beyond just wearing a mask … gloves/eye protection; process of doffing and donning.

Even a basic mask is better than nothing >>


I have bought mine (6 in total) totally Australian made in Queensland from the very reputable company “Merino Country”. They come separately wrapped, are reusable, 3 layers of merino wool, washable, have elastic across top and sides, wool wicks away moisture so the mask is waterproof (which is a requirement), wool covered elastic tie-able tapes. I find them great to use, easy handwash after use in a bowl with washing machine liquid/powder and they dry well overnight in a warm room. Express post is offered as is “normal”. All reviews are 5 stars and people have bought from USA and Europe as well. I buy many other items from them as I find the quality is excellent as are their company relations. Highly recommend you check them out - especially for future events like these. Buying Australian made means we will always have these trustworthy companies around for us and can shop with confidence! :slight_smile:


Thanks Chantelle, I’ll have a look. I’m going to try and make a couple over the weekend. I saw the instructions for 3 masks on the BBC News website.


An article regarding wearing face masks.


The merino masks are very expensive and since I don’t need one often, I’ll look for cheaper alternatives or make one.


No. Paper masks are for single use. They should be disposed of when you have finished wearing them.


I’m noticing that the cost of an individual mask (the cloth ones) is going up over the past few weeks. I ordered some in March and they were $12-15 (depending on design). I have discovered that the one I prefer is the folded design. I have a couple which are just shaped to the face but they dont seem to fit as well. Not on my face anyway. The fold ones (which also came wth a small pocket for inserting a filter) seem to fit better. I also have a box of surgical/medical masks incoming, they claim to be Australian stock.


The ABC has some rudimentary comparisions of coughing, sneezing and talking no masks, 1 layer fabric mask, two layer fabric masks and surgical masks…

One can see why if one makes their own good fitting mask, why it is recommended that at least 3 layers of fine woven cotton is used.

It also demonstrates how one may infect others if they are asymptotic and don’t wear a mask. This is possibly why masks are now mandatory in Victoria, even for individuals which feel well, are asymptotic and may unknowingly have the infection.


I find it interesting that here the conversation is about practical questions. If one kind of mask better than another, how to clean them, how to wear them, when is it desirable or important to be masked.

Across the pacific it’s all about how much a mask infringes on your personal freedom. “I will not be muzzled like a mad dog!” said one speaker who had no use for introspection.

Similarly isolation is mere politics; “I’m not going to stay inside my house. They’re not going to tell me what to do,”

The virus has mutated there to care deeply about individual rights. It also affects you differently depending on whether your tribe is red or blue.

There are no facts only beliefs.

In a hundred years, with the benefit of some distance and time for reflection, the spiritual successor of Edward Gibbon will write The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The American Empire. She will remark that the election of Donald John Trump was not the cause of the fall only a sign that it was imminent - the balance of the national temperament summarised in one statistic.


As numerous reports about a few ‘Karens’ highlight, it is not just overseas, although they seem to have far more self indulgent conspiracy loving dullards than we do.

The saddest part is our domestic dullards don’t seem to understand the US has different laws and what matters in the US is often irrelevant in Australia. Excepting when one is publicised for being what and who they are, when it gets personal for them and they play victims.

They might be happier living in the US when travel and visas are again possible. I would be happy if they did so.

Have you not been reading the predictions of Baba Vanga?

However I might not believe much of anything these days unless it is featured on an episode of The Simpsons.


I suspect they may have difficulty keeping pace so unerringly. Things gather speed the further down the slope they have travelled.


Karen was highly popular as a first name in 65. It’s probably not a fair outcome for most. Although Richard has long suffered a similar fate.

Only relevant to the current topic because some might be confused when others start shouting at Karen across a public space. ‘Hey Karen!’, is that you they are calling out for or some other with long hair and a poor attitude. I hope the trend soon finds a different means of target identification. Not an original thought. It had air time on the ABC 612 radio yesterday, so very much in the public eye.


You don’t see much comment on us guys with Beards, I’ve had my Beard for over 40yrs, my wife has never seen me clean shaven but all masks don’t suit us, they might be OK if I’m sneezing or coughing but I doubt it, social distancing is best for the Beards