Lab tests have revealed alarming differences in the effectiveness of widely available face masks, Which? has claimed.
While some face masks were able to block more than 99% of potentially harmful bacteria from penetrating the mask’s material, the worst allowed 93% of these particles to escape.
Which? is now urging manufacturers and retailers to up their game after three of the 15 face coverings it tested were branded as a “don’t buy”.
At the bottom of the table was a Termini8 face covering sold by Lloyds Pharmacy for £2, one from Asda that sells for £3, and an Etiquette-branded mask that was available at Superdrug for £3.
Although all of them were lightweight and breathable, the fact that they are made with only one layer affected their ability to filter potentially harmful particles.
Two products were awarded “best buy” status. The first was the NEQI reusable face mask available in Boots and Ocado, with bundles of three sold for £15.
Face coverings made by Bags of Ethics Great British Designer, also costing £15 for three and sold by ASOS and John Lewis, also passed the Which? tests with flying colours.