Wear recommended three-layered face masks – FDA warns

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) on Thursday said most of the locally produced facemasks rather posed health risks to citizens rather than helping to protect them from the COVID-19.

It said most of those locally produced face mask were either single or double layered cloth and sewn with treated materials, which in itself may pose danger to the user.

The FDA, therefore, appealed to the public to desist from using un-recommended face masks, stressing that in an attempt to contain the spread of the disease, many were producing it locally, the efficacy of which could not be ascertained.

Mr Joseph Yaw-Bernie Bernnie, FDA Head of Medical Devices Department, told the Ghana News Agency in an interview that the recommended face masks generally must be able to filter out particles and still be easy to breathe through.

He said in the absence of propylene, which is the common material used for medical-grade face masks, 100 per cent cotton or cotton blends possessed good material characteristics for homemade face masks.

He said recent studies and evaluations undertaken by the FDA on viable materials for the production of effective homemade face masks from local fabrics or materials established that Calico-Stiff (Hard/Medium)-Calico (three layers) combination is ideal for a reusable homemade COVID-19 face mask.

He said Calico-Calico-Calico (three layers) combination is ideal for a reusable homemade COVID-19 face mask and that it was important for both local producers and users to ensure the recommended material were used.

Mr Bernnie said there must be no chemicals in the materials used for the production of the masks, noting that because some of those face masks contained chemicals or were dyed, the Authority could not readily ascertain the health implication, hence the advice to avoid it.

A walk through the Madina Station and Market, many people were seen using the locally produced face mask, most of which are either single or double-layered or were made with the treated materials.

But Mr Bernnie said the FDA was carrying out market surveillance to rescue the system, educating both producers and users to respectively stop producing and using the un-recommended face masks.

He said so far a total of eight companies had been licensed to produce the recommended three-layered face mask for the country.

He said most applications for the licensing of the face masks had failed the test but expressed the hope that more would be licensed by the close of the week to make them available.

Mr Bernnie said anyone who desired to use a treated material or branded face mask could do so but must ensure that the part containing the chemical or brand should be the outer layer to prevent direct contact with the chemical.

He said the face mask is for protecting the wearer from others or vice versa but wearing the un-recommended one would end up not achieving that aim.

That would rather expose the wearer to danger because of the false sense of security and end up picking even other infections, he said.

Source: GNA

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