Be careful when choosing a face mask during the current pandemic. If you obtain a substandard one, you may end up endangering your life and that of others by increasing the risk of infection.
But if you choose a face mask certified by SIRIM, you can be sure of its quality and high standards. The tests and inspections on the face masks are carried out by SIRIM QAS International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SIRIM Berhad, at its accredited and state-of-the-art testing laboratories in SIRIM Complex, Shah Alam.
SIRIM QAS notes that unlike the surgical masks used at hospitals which are regulated by the Medical Device Authority (MDA), face masks worn by the public are not regulated in the same manner.
Substandard face masks carry risks of poor filtration, allowing for viral particle penetration that would prove ineffective to protect the user against the Covid-19 virus. Consumers are therefore strongly advised to buy SIRIM QAS certified face masks to ensure adequate protection against the transmission of viruses, bacteria or infections.
The Testing, Inspection and Certification body said there is already a credible international standard for face masks — the BS EN 14683:2019-Medical face masks. Requirements and test methods — and that it is ready to perform product testing and certification to ensure that products in the marketplace are up to mark.
SIRIM QAS uses several technologies when it comes to testing. For medical face masks, it tests them for their Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE), Differential Pressure, Splash Resistance Pressure (Synthetic Blood) and Microbial Cleanliness (Bioburden).
Through testing and certification of above parameters, the compliance of the parameters is determined based on minimum or maximum limit it needs to meet. For example, its Bacterial Filtration Efficiency (BFE) property needs to be at least 95 per cent while Deferential Pressure or Breathability needs to be less than 40 Pa/cm.sq.
SIRIM QAS says its face mask testing and product certification process for manufacturers provides assurances of safety and reliability to users.
“Our testing provides independent assurance that your products are manufactured under an effective system of testing, supervision and control. Thus, there is improved production efficiency and reduced wastage and rejects. It also demonstrates product compliance with national or international standards, ensuring your product functions effectively and safely while enhancing your reputation and extending your market by using the Product Certification MS trademark and security label on your certified products as a marketing tool,” it said in a recent statement.
With the rising concerns about the current health situation, product conformity can provide assurance to the general public that standards of quality are consistently maintained. It enables manufacturers and suppliers to differentiate their products in the market and gain consumer acceptance.
Dangers of substandard face masks
The final decision is at the hands of consumers. They should avoid substandard products although they are cheaper, and instead look out for masks that have the MS trademark and security label by SIRIM QAS on them.
With the MS trademark and security label on products, consumers will be able to identify quality and effective products among the mountains of options available in the market. Furthermore, the security label comes with a QR code where customers are easily able to scan and obtain certification information.
“Substandard medical face masks expose users to Covid-19, as they may allow viral particle penetration. Substandard face masks may be made from materials that are unsuitable for our skin and cause skin allergy. There are also risks of being infected with the virus, owing to the absence of proper filtration, a key part of the medical device,” SIRIM QAS notes.
Currently, SIRIM QAS provides a 20 per cent rebate to manufacturers of face masks under the package service for testing and certification, from June 15 until the end of the year, subject to terms and conditions.
Organisations interested in obtaining the face mask testing and certification can communicate directly with SIRIM QAS by visiting its website at www.sirim-qas.com.my, calling the Customer Service Section at 03-5544 6400, or sending an email to . — The Health