These masks are comparable to N95 and can last one month, says local manufacturer
EDMONTON -- A local company has made a reusable mask it says only needs to be toasted – yes, toasted – to be sanitized before its next wear.
University of Alberta researchers at the not-for-profit thinktank ACAMP say the respirator was found to be comparable with the N95-rated masks worn by essential workers.
The mask is made of polyurethane or polypropylene, filters materials in two directions – offering protection to whoever is wearing it as well as the people they are around – and features a seal around the nose and mouth.
ACAMP CEO Ken Brizel said he thought of the idea after seeing how many people were in public unprotected.
"I walked into a grocery store and nobody was wearing a mask and gloves," he recalled. "Being a bit of a germaphobe, I thought, this isn't the way it should be."
ACAMP calls the mask the A95. It's supposed to last a month if users wash it in soapy water and air-dry once a week. But every day, after it is worn, the mask should be popped into a toaster oven for half an hour.
"People out in your fire departments, grocery store workers, even your delivery people – this gives them an option of getting 95 performance in a device that is not a throwaway device," Brizel told CTV News Edmonton.
The new coronavirus can spread through surface contact and droplets, such as those that come from coughing and sneezing.
The province's chief medical officer of health says people who are wearing homemade masks or throwaway masks are mainly protecting others from COVID-19, not themselves.
"You need something that has a good fit around your face," explained project partner and U of A PhD candidate Conor Ruzycki.
"And you actually need a filter material that actually does a good job of filtering out those materials."
The respirators can be bought online for $19.95. Currently, they're only available in one adult size.
However, ACAMP plans to release a second generation mask and says it has enough supplies to make one for every Albertan if needed.
The Alberta government and Alberta Health Services are currently doing their own tests on the masks and filters.
With files from CTV News Edmonton's David Ewasuk