• STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

Random Fashion Thoughts (Part 3: Style farmer strikes back) - our general discussion thread

emptym

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
8,945
Reaction score
4,745
I'm far, far from an expert on this area, but my understanding is that most masks are made from one of three materials.

There's metlblown, which is what you'll find in an N95 mask. Then there's spunbond/ spunbel, which is what you'll find on medical masks and most filters. And then there's cloth masks.

Meltblown is the gold standard, but there's a huge shortage of the stuff. The machines that make meltdown are in short supply and they take a lot of time and money to build. But if you can get a good seal on an N95 mask with meltblown, you can filter up to 95% of particles.

Then there's spunbound/ spunbel, as you'd find on a medical mask. This New York Times article says medical masks will filter up to 60 to 80 percent of droplets. So not as good as N95's meltblown, but better than cloth.

Finally, cloth filtration really varies, as it depends on the material. But it's not as good as the others because it's a woven material, which has tiny holes between the threads. Meltblown and spunbond are nonwovens.

So I think it's true that medical masks don't give you as much filtration as an N95, but it's better than not wearing a mask or wearing a woven mask. How a medical mask compares to a pouch-held filter, I don't know.
I think understand the difference regarding materials. My point is just that the fit and resultant seal is another important variable.

And so my question is, how much protection would a mask with poor fit give (to oneself and others), even if it had good material (whether meltblown or spunbond)? More specifically: If N95s give relatively little protection when they don't have a great seal, then how much protection would a cloth mask with a filter insert or a loose medical mask give? My guess is that the air would take the path of least resistance, and thus largely enter and exit where there were gaps or where the filter doesn't extend.

This pic illustrates what I meant regarding gaps or looseness around the edges of a medical mask:
3-ply-medical-masks_5739879c-f05a-426b-916d-aad30a24cc94.png


Compare that fit to the Proper Cloth one that you posted earlier. Would a loose-fitting medical mask be better protection than a well-fitting, 2-3 layer cloth mask, with or without a filter?

The Mayo clinic mentions this looseness as well as medical masks' intended purpose of protecting one from splashes and droplets (and large aerosols):
Also called a medical mask, a surgical mask is a loose-fitting disposable mask that protects the wearer's nose and mouth from contact with droplets, splashes and sprays that may contain germs. A surgical mask also filters out large particles in the air. Surgical masks may protect others by reducing exposure to the saliva and respiratory secretions of the mask wearer.

I'm definitely not saying we shouldn't be wearing masks. I just wonder how much protection each type gives. Personally, I just wear a cloth mask that doesn't have many gaps, mainly to protect others. And once a month I'll wear a N95 to go to Costco where it's crowded and I want to give myself, and potentially others, more protection. But maybe a medical mask or a cloth mask with a filter would be better.

Since we'll be wearing masks for the long term, as Fok mentioned, it'd be great if scientists could conduct some comprehensive studies on this.
 
Last edited:

Bromley

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
742
Reaction score
1,241
My guess is that the air would take the path of least resistance, and thus largely enter and exit where there were gaps or where the filter doesn't extend.
This has been my experience. I've tried a lot of different masks, and I've noticed that the ones with more layers/filters just seem to move more air through the gaps. I don't spend much time around other people these days, but when I do I feel safer in a cloth mask.
 

cb200

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2010
Messages
548
Reaction score
614
Not a medical person or a academic, but work with textiles and have helped to move and supply PPE this year through work. Performance wise a surgical mask has to comply to standards. Those are tested and are considered medical devices because of the standards. There's a bunch of parts to it for testing. One is filtration of particles size. One is ability to filter bacteria. One is the ability to transport air through / resistance level... and one part that doesn't seem to get mentioned much is ability to withstand penetration of synthetic blood.

The surgical mask is in part designed to prevent blood - or liquid from penetrating through the mask. With CV19 if someone sneezed on your mask or you got someone's saliva on the exterior or the mask, if it's a surgical mask you'd be protected from it passing from the outside to the inside.

Fashion mask have no standards at all right now and FDA allows those to sold - as long as they don't make claims of performance. Was on a call with a customs broker and testing facility for an info session on PPE import/export and the advise was if you didn't have FDA pre-cleared masks to sell them as fashion masks in the US and make no claims of performance. Unsure if most fabric masks that are made have protection from liquids as part of their design.
 
Last edited:

double00

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
9,575
Reaction score
11,462
i wonder if anybody has looked at a mask as less of a filter and more of a conditioner, if nothing else than to get around material shortages
 

Luellwitz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
78
Reaction score
49
The point of a surgical mask is to prevent you from accidently spitting, sneezing, etc into your patient's wound and creating an infection.

N95 masks are made to prevent you from breathing in airborne infectious diseases like tuberculosis or aerosolized COVID. But for a N95 to be effective it must have a complete seal. Which is tested and fitted to your face. They do not work if you have a beard or if the shape of your face does not allow for a seal. So wearing a N95 mask without it being fitted and tested is basically just wearing an expensive surgical mask.

The purpose of cloth masks is so you do not spread large droplet particles to others. They do not prevent you from breathing in airborne or aerosolized particles. That is why you must wear a proper fitted N95 or papr hood when treating a known COVID positive patient. The current though based on CDC data is that the majority of COVID is spread by respiratory droplets. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/more/scientific-brief-sars-cov-2.html Which is why the recommendation is to wear a mask in public. Hopefully the mask will catch the spit, sneezes that you inevitably project from your upper airway.

There is one study I know of performed at Duke which looked at different types of masks a fitted N95 was clearly the best, but it did show that cotton masks are quite effective and fleece gators were actually worse than not wearing a mask. https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/36/eabd3083
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Apr 10, 2011
Messages
18,192
Reaction score
42,731
I think understand the difference regarding materials. My point is just that the fit and resultant seal is another important variable.

And so my question is, how much protection would a mask with poor fit give (to oneself and others), even if it had good material (whether meltblown or spunbond)? More specifically: If N95s give relatively little protection when they don't have a great seal, then how much protection would a cloth mask with a filter insert or a loose medical mask give? My guess is that the air would take the path of least resistance, and thus largely enter and exit where there were gaps or where the filter doesn't extend.

This pic illustrates what I meant regarding gaps or looseness around the edges of a medical mask:
View attachment 1479429

Compare that fit to the Proper Cloth one that you posted earlier. Would a loose-fitting medical mask be better protection than a well-fitting, 2-3 layer cloth mask, with or without a filter?

The Mayo clinic mentions this looseness as well as medical masks' intended purpose of protecting one from splashes and droplets (and large aerosols):
Also called a medical mask, a surgical mask is a loose-fitting disposable mask that protects the wearer's nose and mouth from contact with droplets, splashes and sprays that may contain germs. A surgical mask also filters out large particles in the air. Surgical masks may protect others by reducing exposure to the saliva and respiratory secretions of the mask wearer.

I'm definitely not saying we shouldn't be wearing masks. I just wonder how much protection each type gives. Personally, I just wear a cloth mask that doesn't have many gaps, mainly to protect others. And once a month I'll wear a N95 to go to Costco where it's crowded and I want to give myself, and maybe others, more protection. But maybe a medical mask or a cloth mask with a filter would be better.

Since we'll be wearing masks for the long term, as Fok mentioned, it'd be great if scientists could conduct some comprehensive studies on this.
This has been my experience. I've tried a lot of different masks, and I've noticed that the ones with more layers/filters just seem to move more air through the gaps. I don't spend much time around other people these days, but when I do I feel safer in a cloth mask.
I agree droplets prob escape from the sides. But isn't this just part of the reason why medical masks only block up to 60 to 80 percent of droplets? I assume the important part here is "up to," which means they may block much less.

I assume the Proper Cloth mask helps solve this since it covers more of your face. But since the filter is in a pouch, I don't know if that leaves other gaps.

Whenever I see a cloth mask without a filter, I just imagine COVID passing through the weave like this

EYaAgUcU4AI2gVP.jpeg




Also, one thing I've taken away from this is that, in normal times, I'm just constantly walking through clouds of aerosolized spit and people are constantly spraying when they talk. Which means I'll probably never leave my home again.
 
Last edited:

emptym

Moderator
Moderator
Joined
Sep 22, 2007
Messages
8,945
Reaction score
4,745
^kinda like this guy:
Jfc, where is this guy getting his facts?

@Luellwitz and @cb200, that all makes sense to me, but I don't think it quite answers my questions. I think the Duke researchers said the gaitor problem was not super conclusive and generally misreported/misunderstood.
 
Last edited:

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,310
Reaction score
23,086

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,310
Reaction score
23,086

Luellwitz

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 1, 2017
Messages
78
Reaction score
49
That’s the paper to which I was referring. Re. The CDC guidelines, the change was due to a regulatory guideline. The language was apparently changed from “airborne” because otherwise, all treating facilities would have been required to have personnel in full PPE, have special ventilation, and from what I was told, just adopt measures that would have hampered the ability to treat without adding anything of note.

That said, the virus nearly assuredly persists on aerosols that can have residence times of hours. As I’m sure you know, what are “droplets” in “suspensions” as opposed to “aerosols” is a fairly arbitrary distinction at the intersection. Typically, aerosols are in the micrometer range and below (in diameter, for those who care), but as practical matter, it depends on the settling time. This is the big difference between being inside or out. Outside, particles that would persist are quickly dispersed, generally. Of course, if you are on a crowded city street vs my street, where literally no one has passed for at least an hour, it’s somewhat different, but my attitude on what level of complexity there can be in public health messaging has changed dramatically in the past few months.

As you said, masking provides *some* personal protection, but mostly, it protects others from your breath clouds, and vice versa. This seems to be a message that is often lost in translation. The “I’m not afraid” mantra of the right suggests that a lot of people are too dumb to understand the concept.
I agree, a cloth mask probably provides you with some protection. The space on the side of mask is probably negligible when it comes to personal protection though. Surgical and cloths masks are not designed for that. As I mentioned they are designed to protect others from you. So unless you breath out of a hole on the side of you face, the protection these types of masks provide is probably the same. I do think a flexible nose piece can be helpful in keeping the mask on your face and preventing your glasses from fogging up.
 

double00

Distinguished Member
Joined
Nov 24, 2014
Messages
9,575
Reaction score
11,462
Also, one thing I've taken away from this is that, in normal times, I'm just constantly walking through clouds of aerosolized spit and people are constantly spraying when they talk. Which means I'll probably never leave my home again.
my takeaway is the same, but i find myself incredibly heartened by the idea of sharing an environment so intimately, it shores my belief in humanity as a universal social organism.

it is rather amazing to think that we are this connected, all across the globe, simply by degrees of exchange. it's like painting a water molecule red and then watching it's progress through the oceans, skies, and soil
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
48,310
Reaction score
23,086

peachfuzzmcgee

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 25, 2017
Messages
224
Reaction score
185
I really like this, but can’t figure out how to wear it. I’m thinking a chunky cardigan, but that’s about it. Thoughts?
View attachment 1479646
I love Story MFG, honestly I feel like those pieces are the ones I always want but hesitate because I don't know which color would allow me to use often. I think big sweaters, jackets, etc are probably the best bet. There are a lot of looks with them on the gram
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

Most Interesting Fashion Collaboration of 2020

  • JW Anderson x Uniqlo

  • Nigo x Virgil Abloh

  • Converse x Midnight Studios

  • Rick Owens x Champion

  • Barbour x Engineered Garments

  • Adidas x Bed JW Ford

  • Jordan Brand x Dior

  • Billie Eilish x Takashi Murakami

  • Lego x Levi's


Results are only viewable after voting.

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
446,406
Messages
9,653,667
Members
201,730
Latest member
iGotGunsAndShit
Top