We recently received a lot of questions on what disposable masks are versus medical, surgical, or procedure. Specifically, customers want to know which category Taiwan Masks products fall into.
In short, all non-woven face masks are disposable
Non-woven fabric is a synthetic material used to produce all types of products - from face masks to air filters. They key is that they are statically charged and once they are in contact with the skin, the static begins to degrade.
All face masks, whether it's medical, surgical, and procedure, should be disposed after use. The filtration rating of the mask doesn't have any effect on usability or length of wear.
Medical Grade vs. Medical Use
Most face masks are made and tested against local and international standards, and in the United States, when a mask passes the ASTM rating, it is considered a medical grade product. This means having at least 95% filtration efficiency on particles 0.1 microns, 95% on bacteria and viruses 3±0.3 microns in size, as well as passing air pressure and flammability tests.
A face mask that is for Medical Use means that it is fit for use by physicians, hospitals, and surgeons. Taiwan Masks does not label our products to be intended for medical use or in healthcare environments, even though our products meet the specifications of a level 1 mask.
Quality face mask manufacturers will also often use the same materials for all their consumer products -it's simply more economic to do so. As a result, the outer spunbond layer, middle meltblown layer, and inner layer all conform to the same standards across many styles. Our 3D and 3-Ply masks are a perfect example of this: same material and filtration ratings but constructed completely differently.
Surgical & Procedure Masks
Surgical masks must pass strict blood barrier test at velocity. In plain English, that means it needs to prevent blood from penetrating the mask if a patient squirts blood at high speeds. These types of masks need to be rated at least ASTM Level 2 and above, and customers can visit Taiwan Masks' Surgical Masks section for healthcare quality products.