Ms. Sarah Smit
Mrs. Sarah Smit, UT, USA Sarah has been employed at Nelson Laboratories for over 12 years and is the Senior Lab Operations Manager in the Protective Barriers department of the company. As sub-chair of the F23.40 ASTM biological committee which oversees the standards for medical face masks and gowns, she helps lead standard development for testing medical protective clothing. Her presentation will discuss the changing industry trends and standard requirements for face mask testing. She received a BS in biology from the university of Utah.
Face Mask Performance Requirements and Testing Industry Trends Resulting from the Pandemic
The high demand for medical face masks, respirators, and general use masks created a wave of companies joining the industry as manufacturers, laboratories, consultants, and regulators. Navigating the required testing and regulatory requirements, especially as they are rapidly changing, has been difficult. Comparing results between product types when the required testing for breathability and filtration efficiency is not comparable causes a great deal of confusion and misconception of the products ability. The number of labs that now offer face mask testing has increased and the majority of them are new to this type of testing. With varying test results, how can manufacturers have confidence in the quality of the results? Additionally, how can end users be confident the mask they purchased does what it claims? The industry has come together to address these issues. Some meetings have resulted in successful ballots of new standards or added requirements to existing standards. Others have identified more work and research that needs to be done to determine how the standards can improve.