Marr has put together and posted publicly a list of their recommendations for masks for children.
There is also a new voluntary standard for face masks. It’s called ASTM F3502-21, and it’s published by an international organization that sets voluntary standards for thousands of products. To claim a mask meets this standard, a manufacturer must have their mask tested and show that it offers a certain level of filtering and breathability.
However, not everyone agrees that the standard is sufficient.
“It’s pretty useless. The maximum category is a filter efficiency of 50%, ”says Aaron Collins, who calls himself @masknerd on Twitter. “That may have been fine for the original coronavirus, but” now that we’re still talking about alpha and the delta, it’s no longer even applicable, “he says. “We passed this standard.”
Collins is a mechanical engineer based in Minneapolis, MN, with experience in aerosols, who started testing face masks last year to find a good, protective mask for himself. The project grew quickly. Now he’s posting the results of his tests, debunking common myths about masks (yes, if you can smell through them, it’s still protective. Odors are fumes, not particles, he explains). on Youtube.
He had stopped his testing over the summer but said the parents bombarded him with questions about masks for children, so he started testing them again. He has a 5 year old son.
“We have a huge problem in the US and that is that there is no general population standard for face masks,” says Collins. “Now we have the problem that we need children with better masks, and we don’t have a standard,” he says.
NIOSH sets standards for professional masks like the N95. However, their standards do not apply to those who need them for general use. Collins says it would likely go to the FDA to set such a standard and, more importantly, enforce it.
Based on his tests, he recommends parents to find a KF94 mask from South Korea. He says their performance is close to that of an N95 and he has seen fewer cases of counterfeiting with these types of masks. If KF94s sell out, as they often do, he recommends looking for a KN95 mask from one of the companies that once had an Emergency Authorization (EUA) from the FDA for healthcare workers. That the EUA was revoked as the supply of N95 masks increased, but he says the masks on this list are more reliable.