Check out Carolina Facemask and PPE featured on Associated Press:
USA Warehouses Sit Full of Highly Effective PPE Masks as People Unwittingly Wear Ineffective Masks
As the USA approaches half-a-million COVID-related deaths and new cases surge, the CDC continues to recommend the use of cloth masks, despite scientific research showing their very poor effectiveness in preventing the spread of viruses, such as COVID-19. While many homemade masks only filter 3% of particles, Carolina Face Mask & PPE, a domestic mask producer, says their masks filter 95% or more. As epidemiologists around the globe warn that homemade masks aren't doing enough, many European countries, including Germany and France, have now mandated medical-grade masks to be used in public settings.
When the pandemic initially hit, the U.S. found itself severely under-equipped, lacking the machinery to produce PPE at the necessary rate. Because America sourced PPE primarily from overseas suppliers, there weren't enough masks for doctors, much less for the general public. Consequently, the CDC recommended that the general public wear reusable cloth masks to preserve medical-grade masks for healthcare workers. However, since early 2020, the situation has changed as dozens of companies across the USA, such as Carolina Face Mask & PPE in South Carolina, invested in mask production machinery to stabilize domestic PPE supply.
"We saw our frontline workers and citizens in desperate need of PPE. As veterans, our initial reaction was that we had to step up," says Rick Gehricke, COO of Carolina Face Mask & PPE. "In a matter of weeks, we set up the entire production line, sourcing American-made raw materials to ensure we could sustainably provide high-quality PPE in bulk."
In order to ensure safety, Nelson Laboratories independently tested CFM's facemasks, certifying that the company's masks exceed ASTM-F2100 standards, offering a bacteria and particle filtration rate greater than 99%. Despite this certification, the masks can't be labeled as "medical-grade masks" or used in medical facilities - until CFM gains FDA certification, which takes up to a year and an investment of tens of thousands of dollars.
Once realizing that its masks couldn't help frontline workers anytime soon, CFM hoped to go direct to consumers. However, the CDC's website explicitly discourages people from using medical-grade masks, so most people have no idea that their current reusable masks offer minimal protection. CFM invested in several digital platforms to spread the word about their highly effective masks, but with no success.