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  • Writer's pictureKevin Langley


During these trying times with the world facing the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a lot of discussion regarding whether or not wearing a mask is the right decision and, if wearing a mask is the right decision, who should wear one. According to the Cleveland Clinic, there are certain persons who are more vulnerable than others to this coronavirus. Those include persons who:

  • Are over age 65.

  • Have cancer.

  • Have hypertension.

  • Have lung disease.

  • Have diabetes.

  • Have heart disease.

  • Have another condition that compromises the immune system.

  • Are taking medications that suppress the immune system.

  • More information

For folks such as myself who have been diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, it is highly important to select the right mask. In my case, I've been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), which can be mild or severe depending on the stage of the disease. At themy current stage, there is joint pain, some tremors in my hands when holding a cup or other object, and sometimes redness in one or both of my eyes - not so bad at this point. However, if I contracted the disease, the impact could be more severe than others without RA, though my symptoms aren't severe (hopefully never will be). For that reason, I have chosen to wear respirator face coverings that offer greater protection against the disease, rather than a 3-layer surgical mask or cloth mask, both which are meant to protect others from the wearer rather than the other way around,

The CDC recommends that front line workers wear respirator masks that are NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approved for working with infectious diseases - namely N95 respirators. The FDA has also approved other respirators certified in other countries for use during this emergency, including KN95, FFP2 or FFP3. These respirators are also useful to protect against disease for those who are more susceptible.

My choice is to wear KN95 respirators for a few reasons. First, N95 and FFP respirators are scarce. Along with our partners, we are working to fix that issue, or at least put a dent in it as early as July or August of this year. There are many masks on the market that claim to be FFP2, KN95 and N95 all wrapped into one. Those are counterfeits. An N95 mask that is NIOSH approved will not have markings of the other certifying bodies. Here are two examples. The first one is conterfeit and the others are real.

The second reason I've chosen KN95 is that they have the same high standards as the N95 and FFP respirators. Here is a comparison chart by 3M

It's important to make sure the respirator you've chosen for yourself, your family or staff is the real deal. As you can see in the following picture, sometimes the blown material is substituted for cotton. It makes the mask look thicker, more substantial, but the truth is that there is much less protection. The one on the left is a counterfeit. The one on the right will provide the protection required. Cotton cannot protect against small particles.

The following video shows how we inspect to ensure that we are receiving the actual KN95 respirators.

There are many other tests involved as well, and just in case you're wondering... Yes. there can also be issues with the three layer surgical masks. This is how a 3 layer mask should look:

Image borrowed from

As John Dotz writes in his recent article, N95 vs FFP3 & FFP2 masks – what’s the difference?, "melt-blown fabric is made by melting a plastic, then blowing it from either side at high velocity onto a rotating barrel. Done right, this results in a fabric composed of tiny filaments" through which Covid-19 probably can't pass.

Of course, some of us may choose to use the do-it-yourself method. Experts say that provides a 79% chance of safety if done right. Due to my own personal circumstances, I prefer to stick with the 95% certainty. And for those of us who don't have a reason to be extra cautious for ourselves, I'm sure we'd like the 95% certainty that the 3 layer mask provides that we won't pass along Covid-19 accidentally to our loved ones whether those are children, partners or parents. It's why we do what we do at Universal Protective Products, to protect our loved ones, to protect ourselves and to do it at a reasonable, affordable price.

For individual orders, please visit our partners at or for bulk orders email

We can help with any of your PPE needs including hand sanitizers and pumps, faceshields, goggles and more.

For those who have more questions about making cloth face coverings at home and wonder if they are a good replacement, please see the video below.

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