Most face masks on sale do not comply with regulations

Most face masks on sale do not meet minimum requirements.
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Digital Desk Staff

Most face masks on sale do not comply with regulations, according to the National Standards Authority of Ireland.

The Irish Times reports that the body has worked with the Department of Health, the HSE and the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to fast-track a new standard for face coverings.

The standard, known as SWiFT 19, should be printed on packaging for products that meet the criteria. This label shows shoppers that a mask has been tested and found to be suitable for adhering to public health advice during the pandemic.

It's designed to reassure consumers that a mask protects against the spread of the virus, is made of suitable material and is comfortable to be worn for a period of time.


SWiFT 19 and a European standard - known as CEN/CWA 17553 - certify that a mask is made of suitable material, is breathable, protects people from the spread of Covid-19 and is comfortable to wear for prolonged periods.


Elizabeth O’Ferrall, of the NSAI, who was in charged of the work to develop the SWiFT 19 standard, said most masks for sale do not meet the minimum requirements.

“I would say, from trawling products, that the majority are not complying with any specification at all,” she told The Irish Times.

“That is really challenging in terms of consumer protection.”

Ms O'Ferrall said a lot of people purchase designer masks that celebrities have warn which "don’t comply with any specifications”.

She said that home-made face masks were also an issue.

However, she also pointed out international public health advice which states that “any face mask is better than no face mask”.

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