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Proudly Made in the USA
That’s the mantra that Armbrust, a leader in USA-made surgical masks, kids masks and N95 respirators, lives by, with not only the masks themselves being made and tested in their own facility in Pflugerville, Texas, but each individual material made here in the USA, as well.
“When companies say, ‘made in America,’ they can just mean physically put together in America, with the materials being made in other countries like China where you don’t know that standards and practices of the factories, workers…,” Lloyd Armbrust, founder and CEO, spoke to The Post in an interview. “[Each part of] our masks are made in America and assembled here as well.”
So why does an USA-made mask matter so much? Not only is it good for the economy and eliminates the need to outsource from overseas, but knowing exactly where your mask comes from and how it is being tested is of vital importance to keep you safe. Since more than 60% of KN95 masks that are made in China and elsewhere overseas fail basic safety standards set by the CDC, having a USA-made and tested mask is the way to go to ensure yours will effectively protect you.
Testing for filtration is a huge step in Armbrust’s process, as many masks, like the N95 Respirators, have the minimum percentage of filtration right in the name — they filter a minimum or 95% of particles and are registered and regulated by the CDC and NIOSH — which means you can trust that they are of the highest quality. No matter if you choose the Florida made DemeTECH N95, the Indiana-made IFM N95 the California made Protex N95 or the Texas made Aegle N95 Respirator, you’ll be getting even more than the minimum filtration, with most filtering out 99% or more particles. If you opt for the disposable Armbrust surgical masks, those have a filtration of just over 99% and come in a rainbow of colors for everyday use.
Aside from filtration, what else should I look for in a mask?
There are two other main factors to be on the lookout for when choosing a mask, aside from filtration. The first is breathability, which is one of the reasons many have turned to thinner cloth masks. However, when doing breathability studies, they can actually be harder to breathe in than medical masks and do a far worse job at filtration and fit, not doing much to protect you from bacteria and virus particles.
“If everyone wore a mask, that would greatly diminish the spread of the [Corona]virus,” Armbrust agreed. “But cloth masks, at their best, only filter out around 40%, 50% of particles, at their best… and that doesn’t account for the gaping around the face from a mask that doesn’t have a proper seal around the nose and mouth…different on each person, like you and me.”
The other main thing to make sure your mask provides is a perfect seal around your nose and mouth, another thing that may sound easy to do with a mask purchased off of Amazon or a cloth face covering, but is actually more difficult than that. Armbrust explained that since everyone has a different face shape and size, making sure your mask doesn’t gape around the nose, mouth and cheeks can be hard, even with one of their own surgical masks or N95 respirators alone.
To solve this problem, in addition to masks, the online retailer also sells mask braces and fitters, coming in a variety of sizes. The Better Mask High Filtration System is $29.99 and includes the main reusable brace, as well 30 Armbrust ASTM Level-3 Filters. This masking system is one of few that meets the Workplace Plus standard, and it is comfortable enough to be worn every day. An Essential Mask Brace can be purchased separately for $14.95.
What’s the takeaway?
While this may sound complicated, it really does boil down to three main points as outlined on their site — “Fit: How well does the mask seal? Filtration: What level of protection does the mask provide? Comfort: How long can you wear the mask?”
Adding a fourth point, the standards used to test for the three factors above is also of the utmost importance, which is why having an American-made, tested and sourced mask is so helpful. Their Mask Quality Database is available to everyone for full transparency, providing peace of mind knowing your mask was rigorously looked over and put to the test before being shipped to your door from Texas, never spending any time unmonitored overseas.