Dubai: Are you using a cloth face mask? The Dubai Municipality (DM) has developed a 15-point check to ensure the quality, safety and efficiency of cloth masks as part of its efforts boost preventive measures against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Amin Ahmed Amin, Director of DM’s Dubai Central Laboratory (DCL), said: “The Dubai Municipality began testing cloth masks since the beginning of this month. This specification has been prepared based on the best international practices in South Korea, Thailand, China and France.”
He pointed out the most important safety tests include checking the pH (a scale used to specify the acidity or basicity of a solution) to determine heavy metals and formaldehyde; and the air permeability or the “ease-of-breathing” test while wearing the mask.
Other quality tests include checking the colour stability for wet and dry friction, in addition to determining the percentage of shrinkage and expansion in the dimensions of the fabric after washing.
It is also important to inspect the fabric’s lint resistance or accumulation of textile fibres and other materials; the elasticity and strength of the mask ligaments. Users should also check the efficiency of bacteria resistance in the case of masks that are made from treated fibre.
Consumers should also test the effect of washing more than once, and examining the absorbency property of the fabric used as an inner layer and the insulation property of the fabric used as an outer layer.
Amin noted the Dubai Municipality initiative contains explanatory instructions for the manufacturing and testing methods based on the latest international standards for the quality, safety and efficiency of textiles, which are used to manufacture these masks.
“The standard, bearing the number, ‘DM-DCL-SOP-CP-2028’, includes performing 15 tests on cloth masks to ensure that they meet the carefully developed standards,” he added.
Eng. Abdul Rahman Al Ali, manager of Consumer Products and Commodities Laboratory Section, added: “the innovative specification confirms the necessity of providing instructions by manufacturers for using the mask and the method of washing and storing it, so that consumers are aware of this important information.
He added the World Health Organisation “has encouraged the wearing of cloth face masks in regions suffering from the spread of the coronavirus.”