Question #1: What makes the antimicrobial used on this face covering better than those used on others?
Answer: Both the FDA and EPA have imposed severe restrictions on what can and cannot be said about antimicrobials and their efficacy. To learn more about this click here to go toUS Government Notice Concerning Product Claims About COVID-19
Most antimicrobials are actually only antibacterials. Many are metal-based (e.g. silver, copper) and often in nanoparticle form. Both are intrinsically unhealthy (especially to breathe through) and harmful to the environment. Most antimicrobials are treatments that are added to the fabric, wear off after a few washings and lose their effectiveness. Made a part of the fabric at manufacture via molecular bonding, the product we use is non-metallic and willoutlast the life of most fabrics. Created by Dow Chemical, it has an unparalleled 40-year safety and efficacy profile. Effective against gram-negative, enveloped microbes, it inactivates them by electrocution and, as a result, inhibits bio-burden build-up that's not only dangerous to the wearer but also a source of surface-based viral spread. Our face covering's inner and outer layers, as well as the ear straps, have this protection. To see a short video that describes this technology click here. To learn more see Leveraging Technology and Science - Part II discussion here. For an even more expansivediscussion of antimicrobials seeThe Definitive Employer Guide to Purchasing Face Masks for Your Valued Employees page 27.
Question #2: What is the importance of the silk chiffon inner layer?
Answer: Beyond any protection provided by the chemical antimicrobial, our face covering offers redundant protection based upon the science which respirator devices rely upon. Many microbes have a negative (-) electrical charge and cannot survive on surfaces having a positive (+) charge. When silk (especially silk chiffon) rubs against cotton it creates a triboelectric charge that act like an air filter and attracts and inactivatrs these microbes by electrical charge transfer). For more on this topic, see the discussion above in the section entitles Leveraging Technology and Science - Part I here. For even moreabout this, see the detailed discussion in The Definitive Employer Guide to Purchasing Face Masks for Your Valued Employees on page 44.
Question #3: Why is cotton so much better for a face covering than polyester or a polyester blend?
Answer: Cotton is a natural fiber that is truly hypoallergenic. On the contrary, polyester is a man-made, petroleum-based fiber that is a known carcinogen and harmful to humans in many ways, environmentally toxic and unsuitable for face coverings. In addition to its being unhealthy to breathe through (especially for extended time periods), studies have shown that viruses can survive on it for as long as seven days. It's simply a noxious fabric. For more about this, see the detailed discussion in The Definitive Employer Guide to Purchasing Face Masks for Your Valued Employees on page 20.
Question #4: Why are nose forms and adjustable ear straps so important?
Answer: Scientific studies show that just a small gap in a face covering can reduce its filtration effectiveness by half. Further, comfort isn't a luxury as it relates to face coverings: it is essential as it reduces the need for the wearer to constantly adjust it with dangerous hand-to-face activity. Moreover, a face covering that is comfortable will be worn more frequently and longer. Nose forms and adjustable ear straps are key to a snug fit, tight air seal and comfort. For more, see the detailed discussion in The Definitive Employer Guide to Purchasing Face Masks for Your Valued Employees on page 35.
Question #5: What makes this face covering more breathable than other ones?
Answer: A face covering's breathability is largely a matter of the fabrics used in its construction, the number of layers it has, it's moisture control ability, the snugness of its fit, any filters that impact airflow, etc. For most face coverings, there exists a tradeoff between comfort, breathability and filtration efficiency. To complicate matters, if a covering gets clogged with germs, bacteria and/or viral build-up it can become less porous over time thereby limiting its airflow. Our covering features the highest quality cotton outer and inner layers, the most breathable material for this application. Its dual inner layers are silk chiffon, which is also very porous. We do not use insertable filters that can encumber breathing. These factors all contribute to why our design ranks at the top of studies performed on face covering breathability. For more about Filtration, Antimicrobial and Bioburden Testing click here. You can also see a more detailed discussion in The Definitive Employer Guide to Purchasing Face Masks for Your Valued Employees on page 36.
Question #6: What's wrong with face coverings that use carbon activated or polypropylene melt-down filter inserts?
Answer: Many face coverings feature replaceable carbon- or charcoal-activated filters...often referred to as PM2.5 filters. To begin, these filters are essentially useless with respect to COVID-19 which, at ∼ 120 nanometers, is too small to be filter by them. They present significant risks as some contain harmful fibers that can be inhaled. For many, they make the face covering difficult to breathe through. Non-woven polypropylene is a synthetic material that is constructed of different chemicals and materials that are potentially toxic. These filters have a very limited life and must be replaced daily or at most, every 2 - 3 days, making the covering expensive to use. Lastly, they are only barriers and do not prevent dangerous bio-burden surface build-up.
Question #7: What is Supima® cotton and why is it so important for a face covering?
Answer: Cotton — especially versus polyester — is the preferred fabric for cloth face coverings for the reasons detailed above. Supima® cotton is, by far, the finest cotton in the world. Representing < 1% of all the cotton manufactured worldwide, and only 3% of US production, it is grown exclusively in four southwestern states by a limited group of licensed growers. Monitored by a GPS-based chain-of-custody system from planting to fabrication, its veracity is proven by DNA testing. The materials, scientific methods and processes used in its growth and production are like those used in organic farming. Due to its extra-long fiber length it is able to be fabricated in such a way that it creates extremely soft, luxurious fabrics that approach that of silk, making it the perfect material for a face covering's inner lining which will be next to a wearer's skin for hours on end. Despite it being four times the cost of other fine cottons, we use it for both our inner and outer layers, not only because of its incredible resilience, strength and durability, but because of its strong color retention properties that facilitate richer, deeper colors, more precise printing and less fading. Moreover, the more you wash and wear it, the softer and more luxurious it becomes. It has been said that "a product is only as good as the materials from which it is made". Intended, designed and purpose-built to be the finest general-purpose face covering in the world, this claim could simply not be made without using Supima® cotton. For more about this, see the detailed discussion in The Definitive Employer Guide to Purchasing Face Masks for Your Valued Employees on page 22.
Question #8: Why is it important to purchase a face covering that is manufactured in the United States?
Answer: Beyond simple patriotism, if there was ever a time to resist the urge to purchase foreign-made goods based on their relatively lower prices, it is now, especially when an employee’s health and well-being hangs in the balance. Here's why. Domestic purchasing will enable the US to regain its independence. Supporting local businesses strengthens our economy from the bottom up by reinforcing the stability of our local communities, both saving existing jobs and creating new ones. Buying American is not only cost-effective but environmentally sound and buying foreign-made goods can have the effect of promoting poor working conditions, unfair wages, unreasonable work hours, child labor and deficient worker benefits. Delivery reliability is critical when you really, really need to get something on time and no other companies meet their on-time delivery commitments more than ours. Relatedly, a hallmark of American manufacturing, our record for “getting it right the first time” is simply unparalleled. Further, there is no other designation that possesses more international cachet — or that is more synonymous with quality, excellent craftsmanship, precision, reliability, durability and value — than the “Made in the USA” label. For many employees, buying American will simply evidence a commitment to quality...and to them. While it is true that the price tags for domestically-made products may often be somewhat higher than those that are imported, in terms of cost-of-use and value, US-made products are often ultimately less expensive due to their quality, durability and reliability − all of which contribute to their longer useful life: consumers, throughout the world, know this. As we see it, it's important for everyone to play the long game, which strengthens our industries, our economy and the American worker: resist the temptation to purchase foreign goods based only on their price, without considering the bigger picture.
Question #9: This face covering appears to be more costly than most. Why then is it a genuine value?
Answer: People do not buy a Rolls Royce, Ferrari or Hummer to just get from here to there. Likewise, our face covering serves more than one purpose. In addition to helping to mitigate the community spread of COVID-19 it is designed and purpose-built to provide a more meaningful degree of wearer protection than ordinary cloth face coverings. This alone should warrant a perceived higher price However, upon closer inspection, our face covering is actually less expensive than most when you consider the difference between price, cost-of-ownership and value. See here and above to learn more.
Question #10: Why does this face covering last longer than other face coverings? Does it require special care?
Answer: The CDC suggests that reusable face coverings be cleaned after every use because, during their use, they may come in contact with COVID-19 droplets or aerosol particulates. Moreover, studies show that active viral particles can remain on a covering's surface for as long as seven days, thereby creating a dangerous bio-burden that could infect the wearer or transfer the virus to a surface with which the covering comes in contact. Cleaning a face covering is a way to both remove the bio-burden build-up and refresh the covering for its next use. It is suggested that coverings be washed at a temperate of ≥ 140 degrees Fahrenheit (e.g., twenty degrees higher than the recommended water heater temperature setting, although most are preset as such).
Unlike any other reusable face covering, the Stay Safer Reusable Protective Face Covering has two means by which to mitigate, if not eliminate, bio-burden build-up: the triboelectric air filter and a QAC-based chemical antimicrobial, both of which are intended to inactivate pathogens. Theoretically, if these methods worked perfectly, our covering should be free of active pathogens and, therefore, not require washing as often as others. Nonetheless, we recommend washing our face covering regularly, maybe once per week, or when it gets dirty (e.g., from face oils, dead skin cells, etc.). Instead of using extremely hot water however, we recommended hand washing, in a sink, using warm water or in the washing machine on the "gentle" or "delicate" cycle, using warm water, and preferably in a tight mesh delicates bag (although this is not necessary). Instead of chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, alcohol or detergent, we recommend Woolite® or another mild cleaner, like dish soap. Leaving it out to dry, on a flat surface, is best. Following these instructions, it is possible that even with daily use, the face covering will provide 90 days of effective service as its antimicrobial will certainly out last the covering itself.
Question #11: Does this face covering help employers meet their OSHA, Workers’ Comp and other regulatory compliance obligations?
Answer: More and more government entities are requiring employers to provide their employees with face coverings to wear at work and, increasingly, states are expanding the scope of their workers’ compensation programs to included COVID-19 as a covered illness, often with the presumption that it was contracted at work. OSHA’s "general duty clause" has always required employers to provide their employees with a safe workplace free of hazards and many experts believe that furnishing face coverings to their employees, with a requirement to wear them, amounts to triggering an “administrative control” measure having personal protection equipment (PPE) implications. While OSHA has been unclear about cloth coverings being PPE, its initial Guidance for COVID-19 in the Workplace described four exposure risk categories (lower, medium, high, and very high) that workplaces and job tasks fall into, and the safety precautions that should be considered for each risk level, including what PPE may be appropriate. Based on these guidelines, webelieve that employers would be prudent to consider the provision of general-purpose face coverings to be a hybrid form of PPE; create a detailed face covering policy; adopt an exclusive company standard face covering; and ask more from them than just the ability to help curb community spread. Our face covering is designed and purpose-built to provide a more meaningful degree of wearer protection than other ordinary cloth coverings: this should help employers satisfy their OSHA responsibilities, and to reduce the new liability, risks and exposures that the COVID-19 crisis has created for them. For more on this, see the detailed discussion in The Definitive Employer Guide to Purchasing Face Masks for Your Valued Employees on page 44.
Question #12: Is this face covering certified as an FDA-, CDC- or NIOSH-Approved Device? Answer: No, because certification of this nature, by either agency, is neither currently required nor available. Our face covering mask is however authorized for use by Health Care Employees and the general public under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for source control use. To learn more about this click here to go to US Government Notice Concerning Product Claims About COVID-19.
The FDA recently imposed severe limitations on claims that can be made about face coverings, antimicrobials, etc. Likewise, the EPA has strict rules regarding marketing claims made about antimicrobial capabilities, especially as it regards their effectiveness against COVID-19. Recently, the CDC's National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) engaged the American Society for Testing and Measurement (ASTM International) to create a national standard to serve as a baseline for source control devices and to provide a level playing field for demonstration of product claims and avoid the general confusion related to general-purpose barrier face covering effectiveness. Richard Nicholas, the founder of the Research Consortium, is a member of the ASTM workgroup that is tasked to write the standard. Released in February 2021, the standard seeks to ensure that general purpose face coverings meet minimum requirements relative to source control and reducing the amount of pathogenic particulates inhaled by the wearer. To learn more about the new standard click here.
Question #13: Is this face covering effective against COVID-19?
Answer: Most employers want to do everything they can to provide for a safe, hazard-free workplace, including furnishing their employees with safe and effective face coverings. Though effective at mitigating community spread, most coverings are at best an imperfect supplemental protection against COVID-19. FDA recently imposed severe limitations on claims that can be made about face coverings, antimicrobials, etc. Likewise, the EPA has strict rules regarding claims made about antimicrobial capabilities, especially as it regards their effectiveness against COVID-19. As of January 2021, there are no commercial entities that have been approved to study the impact of their products on COVID-19; expect government ones. As such, there is notyet an acceptable methods to make a claims against it and no company can directly claim that it’s product is effective against COVID-19, including the antimicrobial chemical agent used on fabrics used for face coverings. As such, we make no such claim.