About PM 2.5 Activated Carbon Filters
The filters included with your masks are called PM 2.5 Activated Carbon Filters, meaning they filter Particulate Matter (PM) that is larger than 2.5 microns in diameter. We make no guarantees about their effectiveness against COVID-19, or any other virus, but experts believe cloth masks, in conjunction with social distancing and regular hand washing, can reduce the likelihood of the transmission of the virus. (Currently, the only masks capable of filtering viruses, N95 masks, are being reserved for use by medical professionals because supplies are limited.)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is concerned about particles that are 10 micrometers in diameter or smaller because those are the particles that generally pass through the throat and nose and enter the lungs. Once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects. EPA groups particle pollution into two categories:
- "Inhalable coarse particles," such as those found near roadways and dusty industries, are larger than 2.5 micrometers and smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter.
- "Fine particles," such as those found in smoke and haze, are 2.5 micrometers in diameter and smaller. These particles can be directly emitted from sources such as forest fires, or they can form when gases emitted from power plants, industries and automobiles react in the air.
These filters protect you from both of these categories of pollutants, but viruses are much smaller. Still, experts say wearing a mask, in conjunction with social distancing and regular hand washing, can lessen your risk of getting or spreading viruses.