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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Most face masks on sale in Thailand do not meet industry quality standards

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Anders Thorsell

The Thailand Consumer Council says that out of 60 face masks available in the country, only a fifth have passed quality tests. According to a Bangkok Post report, the TCC has called on the Thai Industrial Standards Institute to mandate the same safety standards for disposable face masks, which is currently a voluntary requirement.

In July, the TCC randomly chose 60 face mask brands for testing. They included 14 types of disposable masks, 27 brands of surgical masks, and 19 makes of N95 masks. All masks were tested on air permeability, pressure difference, and filter efficiency of 0.1 micron and 0.3 micron.

According to Dr Paiboon Choungthong from the TCC, only 3 out of the 14 disposable masks achieved the required standards. The 3 brands are LOC, Medicare Plus, and Iris Ohyama. However, Paiboon says Iris Ohyama overstated its filter quality, with testing showed it was 97.47% efficient, as opposed to the claimed 99%. Out of 27 surgical mask brands tested, only 3 met the required standards. Those brands were Nam Ah, Double A Care, and TCH. Meanwhile, out of 19 brands of N95 masks, 7 passed the tests: Minicare, Snake Brand, One Care, 3M, Welcare Black Edition, Ease Mask Zero, and Pharmatex.

According to the Bangkok Post report, the TCC says the checks will help the public to purchase higher-quality products. However, the TCC’s secretary-general, Saree Aongsomwang, has expressed concern that disposable mask makers are not obliged to meet the same Food and Drug Administration standards required of medical and N95 masks. She is calling for this to change and for the same quality standards to be applied to disposable masks.

“The FDA and Thai Industrial Standards Institute should apply their standards to disposable face masks to ensure people’s safety.”

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SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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