We value your privacy
Sneezes produce many pathogen-containing micro-droplets with high velocities of 4.5-50.0 m/s. Face masks are believed to protect people from infection by blocking those droplets. However, current filtration efficiency tests can't evaluate masks under sneeze-like pressure. The goal of this study was to establish a method to evaluate the filtration efficiency of mask materials under extreme conditions.
Materials and methods:
Efficiency of surgical masks, gauze masks, gauze, cotton, silk, linen and tissue paper on blocking micro-droplet sized starch particles (average 8.2 μm) and latex microspheres (0.75 μm) with a velocity of 44.4 m/s created by centrifugation was qualitatively analyzed by using imaging-based analysis.
The 4 layers of silk could block 93.8% of microspheres and 88.9% of starch particles, followed by the gauze mask (78.5% of microspheres and 90.4% of starch particles) and the 2 layers of cotton (74.6% of microspheres and 87.5-89.0% of particles). Other materials also blocked 53.2-66.5% of microspheres and 76.4%-87.9% of particles except the 8 layers of gauze which only blocked 36.7% of particles. The filtration efficiency was improved by the increased layers of materials.
Centrifugation-based filtration efficiency test not only compensates shortcomings of current tests for masks, but also offers a simple way to explore new mask materials during pandemics. Common mask materials can potentially provide protection against respiratory droplet transmission.
Do you want to read the rest of this article?
ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
The emergence of a pandemic affecting the respiratory system can result in a significant demand for face masks. This includes the use of cloth masks by large sections of the public, as can be seen during the current global spread of COVID-19. However, there is limited knowledge available on the performance of various commonly available fabrics used in cloth masks. Importantly, there is a need to evaluate filtration efficiencies as a function of aerosol particulate sizes in the 10 nm to 10 μm range, which is particularly relevant for respiratory virus transmission. We have carried out these studies for several common fabrics including cotton, silk, chiffon, flannel, various synthetics, and their combinations. Although the filtration efficiencies for various fabrics when a single layer was used ranged from 5 to 80% and 5 to 95% for particle sizes of <300 nm and >300 nm, respectively, the efficiencies improved when multiple layers were used and when using a specific combination of different fabrics. Filtration efficiencies of the hybrids (such as cotton–silk, cotton–chiffon, cotton–flannel) was >80% (for particles <300 nm) and >90% (for particles >300 nm). We speculate that the enhanced performance of the hybrids is likely due to the combined effect of mechanical and electrostatic-based filtration. Cotton, the most widely used material for cloth masks performs better at higher weave densities (i.e., thread count) and can make a significant difference in filtration efficiencies. Our studies also imply that gaps (as caused by an improper fit of the mask) can result in over a 60% decrease in the filtration efficiency, implying the need for future cloth mask design studies to take into account issues of “fit” and leakage, while allowing the exhaled air to vent efficiently. Overall, we find that combinations of various commonly available fabrics used in cloth masks can potentially provide significant protection against the transmission of aerosol particles.
We identified seasonal human coronaviruses, influenza viruses and rhinoviruses in exhaled breath and coughs of children and adults with acute respiratory illness. Surgical face masks significantly reduced detection of influenza virus RNA in respiratory droplets and coronavirus RNA in aerosols, with a trend toward reduced detection of coronavirus RNA in respiratory droplets. Our results indicate that surgical face masks could prevent transmission of human coronaviruses and influenza viruses from symptomatic individuals.
Oxidative stress causes severe tissue injury of the central nervous system in ischemic brain damage (IBD), traumatic brain injury (TBI) and neurodegenerative disorders. In this study, we used hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to induce oxidative stress in organotypic brain slice cultures (OBSCs), and investigated the protective effects of oxidative stress-tolerant (OST) stem cells harvested from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHED) which were co-cultivated with OBSCs. Using presto blue assay and immunostaining, we demonstrated that both normal SHED and OST-SHED could prevent H2O2-induced cell death, and increase the numbers of mature neuron and neuronal progenitors in the hippocampus of OBSCs. During co-cultivation, OST-SHED, but not normal SHED, exhibited neuronal cell morphology and expressed neuronal markers. Results from ELISA showed that both normal SHED and OST-SHED significantly decreased oxidative DNA damage in H2O2-treated OBSCs. SHED could also produce neurotrophic factor BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) and promoted the production of IL-6 in OBSCs. Although OST-SHED had lower cell viability, the neuronal protection of OST-SHED was significantly superior to that of normal SHED. Our findings suggest that SHED, especially OST-SHED, could prevent oxidative stress induced brain damage. OST-SHED can be explored as a new therapeutic tool for IBD, TBI and neurodegenerative disorders.
This study examined homemade masks as an alternative to commercial face masks.
Several household materials were evaluated for the capacity to block bacterial and viral aerosols. Twenty-one healthy volunteers made their own face masks from cotton t-shirts; the masks were then tested for fit. The number of microorganisms isolated from coughs of healthy volunteers wearing their homemade mask, a surgical mask, or no mask was compared using several air-sampling techniques.
The median-fit factor of the homemade masks was one-half that of the surgical masks. Both masks significantly reduced the number of microorganisms expelled by volunteers, although the surgical mask was 3 times more effective in blocking transmission than the homemade mask.
Our findings suggest that a homemade mask should only be considered as a last resort to prevent droplet transmission from infected individuals, but it would be better than no protection. (Disaster Med Public Health Preparedness. 2013;0:1-6).
Recent studies suggest that humans exhale fine particles during tidal breathing but little is known of their composition, particularly during infection.
We conducted a study of influenza infected patients to characterize influenza virus and particle concentrations in their exhaled breath. Patients presenting with influenza-like-illness, confirmed influenza A or B virus by rapid test, and onset within 3 days were recruited at three clinics in Hong Kong, China. We collected exhaled breath from each subject onto Teflon filters and measured exhaled particle concentrations using an optical particle counter. Filters were analyzed for influenza A and B viruses by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Twelve out of thirteen rapid test positive patients provided exhaled breath filter samples (7 subjects infected with influenza B virus and 5 subjects infected with influenza A virus). We detected influenza virus RNA in the exhaled breath of 4 (33%) subjects--three (60%) of the five patients infected with influenza A virus and one (14%) of the seven infected with influenza B virus. Exhaled influenza virus RNA generation rates ranged from <3.2 to 20 influenza virus RNA particles per minute. Over 87% of particles exhaled were under 1 microm in diameter.
These findings regarding influenza virus RNA suggest that influenza virus may be contained in fine particles generated during tidal breathing, and add to the body of literature suggesting that fine particle aerosols may play a role in influenza transmission.
A shortage of disposable filtering facepiece respirators can be expected during a pandemic respiratory infection such as influenza A. Some individuals may want to use common fabric materials for respiratory protection because of shortage or affordability reasons. To address the filtration performance of common fabric materials against nano-size particles including viruses, five major categories of fabric materials including sweatshirts, T-shirts, towels, scarves, and cloth masks were tested for polydisperse and monodisperse aerosols (20-1000 nm) at two different face velocities (5.5 and 16.5 cm s⁻¹) and compared with the penetration levels for N95 respirator filter media. The results showed that cloth masks and other fabric materials tested in the study had 40-90% instantaneous penetration levels against polydisperse NaCl aerosols employed in the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health particulate respirator test protocol at 5.5 cm s⁻¹. Similarly, varying levels of penetrations (9-98%) were obtained for different size monodisperse NaCl aerosol particles in the 20-1000 nm range. The penetration levels of these fabric materials against both polydisperse and monodisperse aerosols were much higher than the penetrations for the control N95 respirator filter media. At 16.5 cm s⁻¹ face velocity, monodisperse aerosol penetrations slightly increased, while polydisperse aerosol penetrations showed no significant effect except one fabric mask with an increase. Results obtained in the study show that common fabric materials may provide marginal protection against nanoparticles including those in the size ranges of virus-containing particles in exhaled breath.
There is an increasing concern about the health hazard posed to workers exposed to inhalation of nanoparticles. Inhaling nanoparticles possess an occupational hazard due to elevated amount emitted to the atmosphere and working environment. Nanoparticles have potential toxic properties: the high particle surface area, number concentration, and surface reactivity. Inhalation, the most common route of nanoparticle exposure, has been shown to cause adverse effects on pulmonary functions and the deposited particles in the lung can be translocated to the blood system by passing through the pulmonary protection barriers. Filtration is the simplest and most common method of aerosol control. It is widely used in mechanical ventilation and respiratory protection. However, concerns have been raised regarding the effectiveness of the filters for capturing nanoparticles. This paper reviews the literature on the filtration performance of mechanical filters and respirators against nanoparticles. It includes the discussion about filtration mechanisms, theoretical models, affecting factors of the filtration efficiency, and testing protocols for respirator and filter certification.
The length of time that poliovirus could be recovered from wool gabardine and blanket, and from cotton sheeting, terry cloth, and knit jersey fabrics was determined under conditions of controlled temperature and humidity (25 C in 35 and 78% relative humidities). Three types of exposure of the fabrics to viruses were used: direct contact, aerosol, and virus-containing household dust having a high content of textile fibers. When held in 35% relative humidity, virus persisted for 20 weeks on wool fabrics, but only 1 to 4 weeks on cotton fabrics. At this relative humidity, virus titers on wool fabrics decreased rapidly to low but detectable levels which persisted for long periods of time, whereas in 78% relative humidity the decrease in virus titer was less rapid, but the period of viral persistence was shorter. Generally, virus titers on cotton fabrics held in both relative humidities decreased exponentially to an undetectable level. The method of exposure to virus had a definite effect on the duration of viral persistence on a given fabric. Virus contained in household dust was least stable.
The persistence of vaccinia virus on wool (blanket and gabardine) and cotton (sheeting, terry cloth, and knit jersey) fabrics was studied. The fabrics were exposed to the virus by three methods: direct contact, aerosol, and virus-containing dust having a high content of textile fibers. Fabrics exposed to virus by each method were held in 35 and 78% relative humidities at 25 C. Virus was recovered for up to 14 weeks from wool fabrics exposed to virus and held in the low humidity. In contrast, virus persisted for shorter periods of time on the cotton fabrics. No virus was detected on terry cloth as early as 3 days after exposure to virus. The virus appeared to be less stable in the high humidity, and the method of exposure of the fabrics to virus apparently had an effect upon the persistence of the agent. On all fabrics, viral persistence was of sufficient duration to be of epidemiological significance.
In areas where respirators are not routinely used, emergencies (such as fires) may occur in which protection from airborne particles is necessary. The following readily available materials were tested on a manikin connected to a breathing simulator to determine the fraction of an approximately 2-micron diameter aerosol that would leak around the seal between the materials and the manikin's face: cotton/polyester shirt material, cotton handkerchief material, toweling (a wash cloth), a surgical mask (Johnson & Johnson Co., Model HRI 8137), and a NIOSH-approved disposable face mask (3M Corp., Model #8710). The leakage tests were done to supplement the measurements of penetration through the materials reported previously. Leakage fractions were determined by comparing the penetration of the same aerosol for the materials held to the face versus being fully taped to the face. At a breathing rate of 37 liters per minute, mean leakages for the materials ranged from 0.0 percent to 63 percent, depending on the material. Mean penetrations exclusive of leakage ranged from 0.6 percent to 39 percent. Use of nylon hosiery material ("panty hose") to hold the handkerchief material or the disposable face mask to the face was found to be very effective in preventing leakage. Such a combination could be expected to reduce leakage around the handkerchief to about 10 percent or less in practice, and around the mask to less than one percent, which suggests the adaptation and use of such an approach for industrial hygiene.
Abstract A large number of infectious diseases are believed to be transmitted between people via large droplets and by airborne routes. An understanding of evaporation and dispersion of droplets and droplet nuclei is not only significant for developing effective engineering control methods for infectious diseases but also for exploring the basic transmission mechanisms of the infectious diseases. How far droplets can move is related to how far droplet-borne diseases can transmit. A simple physical model is developed and used here to investigate the evaporation and movement of droplets expelled during respiratory activities; in particular, the well-known Wells evaporation–falling curve of droplets is revisited considering the effect of relative humidity, air speed, and respiratory jets. Our simple model considers the movement of exhaled air, as well as the evaporation and movement of a single droplet. Exhaled air is treated as a steady-state non-isothermal (warm) jet horizontally issuing into stagnant surrounding air. A droplet is assumed to evaporate and move in this non-isothermal jet. Calculations are performed for both pure water droplets and droplets of sodium chloride (physiological saline) solution (0.9% w/v). We calculate the droplet lifetimes and how droplet size changes, as well as how far the droplets travel in different relative humidities. Our results indicate that a droplet's size predominately dictates its evaporation and movement after being expelled. The sizes of the largest droplets that would totally evaporate before falling 2 m away are determined under different conditions. The maximum horizontal distances that droplets can reach during different respiratory activities are also obtained. Our study is useful for developing effective prevention measures for controlling infectious diseases in hospitals and in the community at large.
Surgical masks have been used since the early 1900s to minimize infection of surgical wounds from wearer-generated bacteria. There is ongoing debate, however, whether surgical masks can meet the expectations of respiratory protection devices. The goal of this study was to evaluate the filter performance and facial fit of a sample of surgical masks.
Filter penetration was measured for at least 3 replicates of 9 surgical masks using monodisperse latex sphere aerosols (0.895, 2.0, and 3.1 microm) at 6 L/min and 0.075-microm sodium chloride particles at 84 L/min. Facial fit was measured on 20 subjects for the 5 masks with lowest particle penetration, using both qualitative and quantitative fit tests.
Masks typically used in dental settings collected particles with significantly lower efficiency than those typically used in hospital settings. All subjects failed the unassisted qualitative fit test on the first exercise (normal breathing). Eighteen subjects failed the assisted qualitative fit tests; 60% failed on the first exercise. Quantitative fit factors ranged from 2.5 to 9.6.
None of these surgical masks exhibited adequate filter performance and facial fit characteristics to be considered respiratory protection devices.