Etsy sellers offer mesh face masks that provide ‘little protection’
The Etsy seller has been a greatest source for stylish masks since the beginning of the pandemic — but some of them, it turns out, are barely masks it.
Sellers have been marketing the masks made out of mesh, lace, and other material with visible holes in them. Masks often for marketing their fashion (some butterflies or rhinestones on them) and advertised as being “breathable.” Commentators sometimes refer to them as a more comfortable way to comply with the mask mandate.
They are also likely to be very to provide effective protection against the spread of COVID-19. If holes in a fabric are big enough that you can see them, “so, of course, virus particles can get through, so it offers very little protection,” said Amy Price, a senior research scientist at Stanford’s anesthesia Informatics and Media Lab, who has been studying the mask material and to contribute to the World Health Organization advice on use of masks to protect COVID-19.
Along the way Saw at least a dozen sellers offering mesh or lace masks with holes in them on the first page of the Etsy listing for the “mesh mask.” Many of these sellers have multiple listings.
Etsy is “not responsible” to determine the efficacy of the masks listed on this platform, and sellers are not allowed to make medical or health claims, an Etsy spokesperson said Along the way. “We are committed to keeping our community safe and to work actively review and remove items that violate our policies,” the spokesman said. At least one mesh mask listing that made medical and legal claims highlighted in a viral for the has been pulled.
While it is not clear that the mesh masks are sold especially on a large scale on Etsy, mask sales on Etsy have been huge. More than 12 million masks were sold on Etsy in April alone, a total of around $133 million dollars in sales. Etsy continues to promote the face mask sale in the months after. When you pull up the site for the first time in a face mask category is one of the first things recommended. At least a thin “breathable” mask appears on the first page of the listing.
A buyer wrote a review saying the mesh mask was “perfect” for someone who hates wearing a mask. “I love it, because no one can say sh%T to me now, for I have my mask on. LOL.” Another wrote, “I absolutely love this mask I wear it is not where the cum mandate, I am fully able to breathe and not been stopped or questioned!”
The seller of these masks, Stinnys provides at least seven look merely mask model. Stinnys told Along the way The masks are meant for festivals like Coachella and Burning Man and that they have been offering since the first pandemic. The listing says that the masks are “not intended for Covid use.”
“Most customers are wearing them on disposables or N-95,” the company wrote in a message to Along the way. “Those that are not what they want on their free will.”
Many mesh and lace masks are marketed for their style, and some listings specifically call out that they are not designed for health standards. A listing vaguely states, “it merely masks! They are not intended for extra protection.”
Etsy also displays a warning on the search results and product pages for the face mask, saying, “selling items on Etsy, such as masks and hand sanitizers, are not medical grade. Etsy sellers can not medical or health claims.” Some sellers have been able to avoid this warning message, though, by the label of their product a “face cover,” instead of “face mask.”
A mesh mask “will be better than no mask,” but it will be better if the mask was two or three layers of them to the said Manhar Dhanak, chair of the Department of ocean and mechanical engineering at Florida Atlantic University working on a recent study simulating the effectiveness of different face mask materials. Like layers, filters or even paper towels can help to absorb the droplets expelled from your mouth that might carry the virus, Dhanak said.
Countries that mandatory masks and social away early in the pandemic, has seen lower rates of COVID-19 spread, Price said, but there’s still a lot of research that needs to be done on the effectiveness of “community mask” like those are made home. “Masks required is probably not going to go away,” Price said. “If all this research was the last time we have a pandemic, then we would be better equipped today.”
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