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What kind of mask is the RIGHT kind of mask?

Our world has changed, and we need to adapt and figure it out.  We are working with big changes, social distancing, online learning for our children and wearing a mask – every time we are near other people.  Whatever your feelings on masks – wear one, don’t wear one…..please just educate yourself, especially if you are putting one on a loved one.

There are A LOT of really cute masks with funny sayings on them, if I have to wear one, I want one of those.

Sure, have at it, but chose wisely.  Do NOT chose a mask with ANY kind of print over your mouth and nose!! 

Let me clarify…printed fabric is one thing.  If you are wearing a homemade mask with fun or pretty fabric, chances are the person who made it, washed the fabric first, so you are good.  If not, wash it yourself – still good.  Here’s why – all fabric on the shelf at the store has what’s called ‘sizing’ on it.  It’s a water-soluble chemical used like starch to aid in keeping the fabrics shape and to preserve the color.  Once the fabric is washed, that covering is gone making the fabric softer and safer to wear. 

What about the ones with a cool design that my friend made at home with their home vinyl cutter?

Sure, if the design is placed on your cheek.  If the design is in front of your mouth or nose, you are breathing through Polyvinyl Chloride or PVC, which emits dioxin, a toxic chemical.  While safer to use on other garments, it’s probably not a good idea to have it that close to your air intake.   There ARE non-toxic forms of vinyl available, but I’m guessing it’s probably more expensive and that’s not what most home-crafters are using.  Could be, certainly worth asking the question.

What about the ones that are screen printed or have a printed pattern all over?

Some screen printers (should be all) use ink that has been certified as safe by the rules governing CPSIA – Child Protection Safety Information Act, which means what they are using is non-toxic.  However, a reputable screen printer will STILL print a design on the cheek area.  Think about it, we are already working to breathe through 2-3 layers of fabric and maybe a filter, why add another layer?

As for the ones that are printed all over, same rules apply as rules for screen printers.  And if that’s the one you have, wash it first, then it will be fine to wear.

The bottom line is – please choose wisely.  Use a bit of logic and ask questions if you are not sure.  Above all else stay safe and take care of your family.

Thanks for reading, 

Julie

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