MAXARI recently delivered on a contract to supply the US Army with reusable face masks. While we have previously supplied frontline healthcare workers in regional health centers, universities, county, state and federal agencies, we were happy to know our products were now going towards the men and women who keep us safe everyday.
COVID Masks For Training and Exercise
As we all know, soldiers train daily and involves physically challenging and rigorous activities. Hence, the Army required masks that have several characteristics that allow them to exercise comfortably and not interfere with their physical performance. Their requirements included:
1. A material that can withstand sweat and dirt (cotton was not allowed).
2. Machine washable.
3. Multiple sizing options.
4. Designed to stay on the face during training.
5. Effective in reducing the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
6. Germ-resistant / antimicrobial.
7. Completely black, coyote brown, Operational Camouflage Pattern (OCP), or MultiCam.
In addition, the masks could not have valve-type ventilators/respirators or logos.
MAXARI worked with our manufacturers to supply the Army with a mask which met all their criteria. What’s more, we were able to deliver these masks within 7 days of order.
A particular characteristic of our masks is that they are made of a polyester-spandex blend with a lab-tested anti-microbial fabric layer. In addition, the spandex allows for greater flexibility which improves fit around the face and reduces leaks / gaps.
According to a report by the American Chemical Society, a polyester-spandex blend was found to have 67% filtration efficiency (cotton was slightly higher and of course, N95 masks offer 95% filtration). In addition, the study notes proper mask fit as being critical in reducing the spread of COVID19. Hence, the close fit, breathability, and material properties of these particular masks were key to the Army selecting them.
While there are brands which offer reusable masks with some of the characteristics above, they are very expensive. What’s more, their branding/logo typically overshadows any logos or text an organization may want to add.
Why reusable masks?
In addition to the Army, several organizations are opting to switch from disposable masks to reusable ones. The benefits include:
1. Financial savings. Not having to constantly replenish disposable masks. Instead, providing each employee with 2-3 reusable masks for several months.
2. Durable. Reusable masks can last up to 1 year if properly cared for. Whereas disposable masks are typically good for between 3 and 8 hours per day and must be discarded once removed
3. Customizable. Organizations can personalize masks by including their company logo. Several have found it to be a great way to implement internal and external branding and also hand out to new employees or clients.
4. Eco-Friendly. According to a University College London report, using a disposable mask every day would result in an additional 66,000 tonnes of contaminated plastic waste (the US equivalent would be an additional 300,000 tonnes of plastic waste). This would only add to the issue of plastic filling up landfills and oceans worldwide. EnergyFundz has thus encouraged our clients to move towards masks that are reusable and environmentally friendly.
Disposable masks, however, are still must-have PPE for front-line healthcare workers and MAXARI routinely supplies N95 NIOSH masks and medical grade and sterile 3-ply masks. For the general public and those not on the frontlines, we prefer to offer reusable, washable and personalized masks.
We welcome your comments, inquiries and questions on our line of reusable masks for your organization or teams. Please don’t hesitate to share your needs or reach out and our team will do our best to get your the right PPE to keep your employees and communities safe.