Should we be thinking about obtaining face-masks for ourselves, helping to provide them for frontline healthcare staff, or both? As training agency PADI launches a range of face-coverings using ocean-recycled materials, UK dive-gear manufacturer AP Diving is tackling a continued shortage of personal protection equipment, particularly for care-home staff.
Non-medical-grade masks for the public are intended to stop wearers spreading a virus rather than directly protecting the wearer, so are as effective as the number of people who use them.
As official advice around the world (perhaps even the UK) appears to shift towards encouraging their use when lockdown conditions are eased, PADI is marketing a range with scuba divers in mind.
The training agency has linked up with Irish rash-vest manufacturer Rash’R, which had already produced its own range of non-medical-grade face-masks with disposable PM2.5 filters. They are made from “Ocean Balance” polyester fibre recycled from plastic bottles, fishing nets and other materials reclaimed from the sea.
The double-layered reusable masks are said to be machine-washable and quick-drying and are available in one adult and one child size at one price, £17.20. Each comes with five carbon-activated filters, which work for up to eight hours. Replacement filter packs of five cost £8. Designs feature great white, geometric, blue and whale sharks, manta rays and divers.
2 May 2020
PADI says it will make no profit from the masks. “We wanted to give divers an opportunity to make a difference in an issue that, as ocean-lovers, we care deeply about – plastic pollution,” said marketing vice-president Lisa Nicklin.
The product can be ordered here.
Meanwhile UK dive-gear manufacturer AP Diving is more concerned about shortages of masks among front-line community care-workers, and is raising cash to boost production of washable face-masks with replaceable filters to help protect these staff from Covid-19.
Operating as Cornwall Masks, a small team of volunteer sewing-machinists are making the face-masks at their homes. They are then collected, steam-cleaned and sealed by AP marketing manager Jeff Parker, who designed the initial mask, before being distributed free to care-workers.
In the first week of home production Cornwall Masks produced 220 masks and the team say they can boost output if they can get more volunteer machinists and materials, especially the expensive replaceable Hepa-Flo filter inserts, elastic and nose-clips.
They have now launched a JustGiving appeal in a bid to raise the necessary funds.