DOH confirms copper face mask not medical-grade but can still help curb COVID-19 spread

Kristine Sabillo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 06 2021 08:58 PM

Shoppers traverse the Divisoria area in Manila on November 9, 2020. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The Department of Health on Wednesday confirmed that the so-called copper face masks are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, but it doesn’t mean that they are useless.

“FDA has released advisory 2020-1181 which has the list of FDA notified medical face masks. In the said list, the copper mask is not included which means that they are not medical-grade,” the DOH said in a statement.

“Nevertheless, considering that it is still a face mask, it can still prevent the spread of COVID-19 mainly by acting as a physical barrier for droplets when a person emits droplets,” it added.

The issue of using copper-infused face masks was raised after the Makati Medical Center reportedly posted an advisory asking visitors to wear a surgical and cloth face mask, and not copper masks and masks with valves.

The hospital issued an updated advisory saying that masks or respirators with exhalation valves, vents, slits or holes are not allowed inside the medical center.

 

While copper-infused face masks have become popular due to its alleged antimicrobial layer, some types reportedly have an opening at the bottom of the mask or on the chin.

The DOH did not mention this in its statement, but it shared a list of the approved medical-grade masks that can be seen here: https://www.fda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/FDA-Advisory-No.2020-1181.pdf

Since the start of the pandemic, almost 86.5 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 virus, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard.

In the Philippines, the total count has reached more than 480,000.

Experts say the only way to curb the spread of the disease, besides an effective vaccine, is by wearing face masks, practicing physical distancing and good hygiene.

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