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FDA warns public vs valved masks

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
FDA warns public vs valved masks
“They do not have infection control (mechanism). The valves are not designed to, for instance, protect a person from inhaling the air being exhaled by an infected person wearing it,” FDA director general Eric Domingo said in a radio interview.
Philstar.com / Irish Lising

MANILA, Philippines – Masks with exhaust valves cannot prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection as they are designed for industrial use and not for medical or surgical purposes, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said yesterday.

“They do not have infection control (mechanism). The valves are not designed to, for instance, protect a person from inhaling the air being exhaled by an infected person wearing it,” FDA director general Eric Domingo said in a radio interview.

He said masks with exhaust valves are worn by carpenters and other workers to keep them from inhaling dust and other particles.

Domingo underscored that the protection offered by such masks is “one way.”

“The protection that we want from a mask is two-way. If you are sick, you will not infect others and at the same time, if you are well, you will not get the infection from other infected individuals,” he added.

The official said cloth masks are better for everyday use than those with valve because their protection is “two way.”

Domingo added for hospital use or when caring for a patient in a hospital, it is best to use the “medical or surgical grade masks.”

He made the statement after The Medical City issued an advisory last week that the wearing of masks with exhaust valves is “prohibited” inside the clinic premises.

“While masks with valves are designed to ease exhalation and decrease humidity for the wearer, they do not block transmission of COVID-19 because they allow exhaled air and droplets to escape,” the advisory read.

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