Pasture Pharma’s masks are approved by US authority for public use; no fit test needed
A SINGAPORE company has come up with an N95 mask that has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for public use.
Pasture Pharma is one of only two companies in the world to have received this accreditation. The other is US multinational corporation 3M.
Other N95 masks are recommended for occupational use in places like hospitals, as wearers need a fit test to ensure that these are worn properly.
For example, at Singapore General Hospital, clinical staff undergo N95 mask-fitting at the time of their employment, and the sizes are recorded. This was repeated three months ago as an “added precaution” against Influenza A (H1N1).
In a fit test, a person puts on the mask and then a hood. A sweet or bitter solution is sprayed into the hood, and if the wearer can taste it, then the mask is not being worn properly or is of the wrong size, and particles can leak through.
But individuals can wear Pasture Pharma’s mask without a fit test because tests on about 600 first-time users found that most of them could achieve a proper fit just by following the instructions.
The mask was also certified to filter 95 per cent of particles by the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
Based on these results, the FDA approved of the mask for public use in January this year.
The company’s chief executive Lloyd Soong had been inspired to develop his mask after he helped as a vaccine “delivery boy” during the 2003 Sars epidemic, and found the mask he wore uncomfortable and difficult to breathe though.