Early in the pandemic, I took it upon myself to find the best face covering to wear. After finding a few decent masks, I settled on the Italian-made U-Mask to wear. The brand had become the mask of choice for may F1 teams so they had appeal. They were incredibly comfortable and, while pricey, promised to protect the wearer as a any medical grade mask would.
U-Mask’s integrity has been questioned in the past few days, so are they safe?
Is U-Mask Safe To Wear?
Before continuing, yes. U-Mask is safe to wear. While there have been some questions asked of the masks, none of them suggest that the masks were ever dangerous so to speak. The questions really focus on how effective the masks were not whether they were made from a harmful material. But let’s look closer at what has been asked about the mask.
Italian Government Ban U-Mask
On February 19th, the Italian Ministry of Health took precautionary steps and banned the sale of U-Mask Model 2 in Italy. The problem for U-Mask is that it’s believed they’ve taken advantage of the current global situation to sell a solution everyone wants. A comfortable mask, offering medical-grade protection that looks pretty cool.
The U-Mask website is excellent at selling the story. The multi-layered mask protects others, protects you and all of this while looking stylish. But the Italian Government wasn’t convinced and wasn’t convinced U-Mask had gotten the correct certifications to back up their claims. The certifications they did get were apparently from an unlicensed lab. Though I’ll be honest, I’m largely working from Italian media reports here and I don’t speak Italian.
The important thing to know is that U-Mask makes big claims about being a medical grade device that you can wear for up to 200 hours. These claims have had doubt cast over them.
U-Mask Response To Ban
I reached out to U-Mask and asked them what all of this meant. Here was their statement:
“The precautionary measure announced on 19 February 2021 by the Italian Ministry of Health
regarding U-Mask is based on administrative grounds in Italy only and has nothing to do with the
safety of the mask.
In response, we have presented to the authorities new analysis and certification which you can
find published here: https://www.u-mask.eu/certifications, confirming a bacterial filtration efficiency
(BFE) in both directions of above 99%.
We reiterate that U-Mask is a safe product, it does not harm health in any way and fully complies
with the legal regulations for which it was registered.
We will continue to defend the quality of our products, our reputation, and the transparency of our
We’re left with more questions than ever regards U-Mask. I’ve reached out to the HSE and will update this article as soon as I hear back. For me, the U-Mask Model 2 is comfortable and does provide a cool option in a world where we must wear face coverings. However, the claims the manufacturer makes are big and for those to be questioned means proper answers are needed. An Italian Wired article emphasises how little we know about the science in the masks and given the hefty price tag, that’s not great.
However, the masks being expensive and even quite vogue right now doesn’t mean you should be worried about wearing one. Just make sure you’re also keeping your distance from others, washing your hands and all that other good stuff. Guidelines on face coverings in Ireland suggest U-Mask is ok but I have asked the HSE for clarity. Considering I saw a guy pulling a t-shirt up over his face as “an acceptable face covering” suggests to me you could do a lot worse than U-Mask. I’m looking at you too vent mask wearers.
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