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August 7, 2013

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Watchdog uncovers face masks ineffective at stopping PM2.5

Many face masks claimed to filter tiny PM2.5 pollutants have little effect in blocking the particles, city consumer watchdogs warned yesterday.

The Shanghai Consumer Rights Protection Commission tested 17 masks bought randomly online and at stores and found that for more than half protective properties were exaggerated.

Many consumers are especially concerned about PM2.5 pollutants Ñ small particles particularly dangerous as they can lodge in the respiratory system.

Eight samples were found to offer poor filtering properties of below 50 percent. Masks made by Beijing Zhongbei Bojian Technology and Trading Co and Shanghai Shuangdi Daily Necessity Co had the worst filtering performance, the commission said.

The watchdog also found that six samples had a high leakage rate, rendering them ineffective even if filtering was adequate.

A mask produced by the Shanghai Tian’ao Trade Co and sold at the Chuanchang outlet of Lotus registered the highest leakage.

Meanwhile, a total of 11 samples were found to have labeling problems, most failing to mark filter levels.

“Many companies cash in on consumer concerns over poor air quality,” the commission said.



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