[The Hwankyung Ilbo] Health masks that are purchased from pharmacies or marts and used to prevent yellow dust or fine dust have been found to be excellent in blocking fine dust.
The Seoul Institute of Health and Environment announced that it evaluated the performance of 39 kinds of health masks and 11 kinds of general masks made of cotton.
As a result, it was found that the KF80 grade of the health mask showed an average of 86.1%, the KF94 grade had an average of 95.7%, and the KF99 grade had an average of 99.4%, which means all of them showed fine dust blocking performance above the standard.
‘KF' is an abbreviation of 'Korea Filter' and it is a mark certifying the performance of the mask for health by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. The number after 'KF' is the criterion and the grade of the qualification of the mask to block the particles. ‘KF80’ means it is able to block more than 80%, ‘KF94’ more than 94%, and ‘KF99’ more than 99% of the particles. Therefore, the larger the number after 'KF' is, the higher the ability to block fine dust is.
However, in the case of general masks made as industrial products, the test results showed an average of 46%, which is lower than that of health masks.
“Wearing health masks is the only way to protect the health from fine dust at an individual level, which is a Group 1 Carcinogen,” said an officer of the Seoul Institute of Health and Environment. “Even if it is not KF 94 grade, if you wear a health mask of KF 80 or above, it can block not only fine dust of PM 10 but also PM 2.5.”
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