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Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health

SWCOEH’s Dr. Wei-Chung Su co-authors Mask Efficacy article published by AAQR

Houston (March 14, 2022) – Dr. Wei-Chung Su, PhD, of the Southwest Center for Occupational and Environmental Health (SWCOEH) at UTHealth School of Public Health co-authored an article published by Aerosol and Air Quality Research (AAQR), an international journal that covers all aspects of aerosol science and technology, atmospheric science and air quality related issues.
The article, “Investigation of Mask Efficiency for Loose-fitting Masks against Ultrafine Particles and Effect on Airway Deposition Efficiency” was published in January.
“This research conducted a series of laboratory chamber experiments to study the mask efficiency of loose-fitting types of masks (the common masks used by the general public such as KN95, breathing valve mask, cloth mask, etc.) against ultrafine particles (less than 0.1 microns) in the ambient environment,” Dr. Su said. “Results acquired demonstrated that the cloth mask showed an overall low mask efficiency with a mask efficiency of 20% on average. The KN95 presented a better mask efficiency among all tested loose-fitting masks with the mask efficiency higher than 50% in general.”
With the luxury of additional time and funding for further study in this area, Dr. Su has a clear idea of what would come next.
“With additional funding and time, I would conduct another series of laboratory experiments to investigate the efficiency of loose-fitting masks against airborne particular matter within the size range of 0.5 to 5 microns to study the efficacy of different masks on preventing the inhalation of SARS-CoV-2 contained aerosol during the pandemic”
Other article highlights:
·       Loose-fitting masks were evaluated for mask efficiencies against ultrafine particles.
·       KN95 mask showed a relatively better mask efficiency among all loose-fitting masks tested.
·       The cloth mask showed a generally low mask efficiency compared to other masks tested.
·       Airway deposition efficiencies were decreased due to mask-wearing.
The SWCOEH provides a variety of graduate-level training opportunities for occupational and environmental health professionals through our industrial hygiene, occupational and environmental medicine, occupational epidemiology, and Total Worker Health®.