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Reusable mask offers alternative to disposables

Swatches | November 1, 2022 | By:

The Flo Mask, a new kind of reusable face mask promises to be light, comfortable and as protective as common disposable masks. Reusable face masks (elastomeric respirators) do exist; the two-chambered gas mask is most familiar—and not popular in the marketplace. But a larger surface area is needed to breathe comfortably, as air inhaled must move through a thick filter.

Mask creator Kevin Ngo launched a children’s mask first; an adult version followed after overcoming the challenges of proper fit and 95 percent efficiency. Ngo used a next-generation filter material that had been developed in late 2019 and initially used only by the Dept. of Defense. The test results showed the new material could filter with 99 percent efficiency over a tiny surface area and still maintain good breathability.

The product was selected as a finalist in a Mask Innovation Moonshot Challenge spearheaded by U.S. government agencies. The designer makes no claims that Flo Mask is equivalent to an authorized N95; however, the product has been through the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s testing protocol. Results are available on YouTube. Photo: Flo Mask

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