The Hidden Dangers of Valved Face Masks

In some states and large cities, “face coverings” must now be worn in public to prevent the spread of COVID-19. This can mean anything from a handkerchief to a designer cotton mask to a full-face gas mask, as long as there is something between your mouth and nose and the world around you.

However in several large California cities, including the Bay Area, there is a new twist: you can wear whatever mask you want, as long as it has no valves. What? Why? Because a mask with a valve can protect you from some pathogens in the air, but it does not protect the people around you from pathogens you may be breathing out.

At this point, the “valve rules” are more often exceptions than rules. Despite warnings from scientists, many cities and states seem unaware of the dangers of unprotected valved masks.

What is a Valved Mask?

A valved mask is a type of mask – usually an N95 – with a one-way valve through which exhaled air passes through a small round or square disc. Some commercially available cloth masks also feature a valve

Although valved masks reduce heat building while continuing to provide adequate protection to the wearer, the community benefit of widespread mask use is not only outweighed, it’s completely reversed. 

The purpose of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s universal masking guidelines are to prevent viral transmission from infected individuals to people around them… not the other way around. Exhaled air passes unfiltered into the environment, taking potential coronavirus droplets with it, and defeating the mask’s most important purpose: protecting those around you.

Whatsmore, breathing out through an unfiltered valve can dramatically accelerate your exhalation, similar to the dynamics of a rocket engine.

Evaluate the differences between this seamless face mask with a carbon filter from mask company Puraka and a non-seamless mask with a hole cut through the filter to accommodate the valve. The seamless mask and pm2.5 filter filters your breath when you exhale, not just when you breathe in.

Why are Puraka Masks Best Choice for Everyday Protection?

Puraka Masks’ masks are cotton tightly-woven masks with a special pocket for a carbon filter. They are designed to offer you the best in both worlds: filtering ability is significantly higher than a fabric mask, with far less respiratory resistance and potential cardiovascular damage than a N95 respirator. 

What Makes Puraka Masks Special?

  • 100% Cotton:

Natural is better. Puraka’s masks are made from 100% cotton fabric, with an inner pocket for the filter.

  • Quality Filters:

Puraka’s carbon pm2.5 filters include two layers of meltblown fabric, capable of filtering particulates as small as 30 nanometers across

  • Adjustable Fit:

A good fit is the single most important factor for efficient filtration. The masks use CDC-recommended straps that fit over your ears, rather than a single strap that goes around your neck. Both the strap and the metal nose clips can be adjusted, ensuring a fit that is conforming but comfortable.