New National Standard for Face Masks to Take Effect in China

Beijing, March 7, 2015(ECNS) — The quality of protective face masks sold across China will soon be required to reach a minimum national standard to overcome industrial disruptions, the China Business News reported on Friday.
File photo shows children wear face masks on a smoggy day in Beijing. (Photo/China News Service)

The face mask industry has no corresponding association or system for quality and market management, even though the profits of some brands have increased by up to a few hundred percent in recent years, the report said.

According to a quality inspection report from the Shanghai Bureau of Quality and Technical Supervision, out of 69 random samples, over 80 percent of the products failed to meet requirements for protection against PM2.5.

Some well-known brands were among those with unqualified products, namely 3M and BlueShields, which have been found selling substandard masks, while Yunnan Baiyao saw the lowest filtration efficiency at only 24.2 percent.

“This is also what we are most concerned about, that the chaos will lead to a continued slowdown in consumer confidence,” says Lin Jinxiang, chairman of the ZheJiang Occupational Safety and Health Goods Association and general manager of Chaomei Daily Chemical Corporation Ltd. in Jiande City.

In response to non-standard industrial competition, the need for a new national standard for face masks was officially put on the agenda in 2014.

According to authorities, the China Nonwovens and Industrial Textiles Association, the Jiangsu Quality Supervision and Inspection Center for Special Type Products of Safety Protecting, the National Quality Supervision and Testing Center for Labor Protection Products, and other professional enterprises will be in charge of drafting technical regulations for the daily use face-mask industry.

Masks that do not seal tightly to the face result in a high leakage rate and will not block dust and fine particulate matter, so a mask’s leakage rate and respiratory resistance are important factors for such a standard, says Lin.

“However, I have not received any information regarding the new national standard,” he says, adding that it will be a self-contained system combining the characteristics of medical masks and industrial masks.