The first textile mask with the official test label, Testex Community Mask, has been launched in conjunction with Swiss companies, Forster Rohner and Schoeller Textil, in Switzerland. Testex, headquartered in Zurich, is a leading, globally operating, independent Swiss testing and certification organisation with focus on textile and leather testing.
Face masks have been mandatory on the entire public transport system in Switzerland since July 6, 2020. The Federal Office for Public Health (FOPH) recommends wearing masks in all places where the so-called social distancing is not possible. Whether it’s on the tram, in the supermarket or at the hairdresser’s, masks have become part and parcel of everyday life and they will likely remain for a long time.
Increasingly, more people are asking for a recommended sustainable and official alternative to the commonly used Filtering Face Piece (FFP) and surgical masks.
Therefore, it is not surprising that fabric masks have been a popular topic in the Swiss media. The FOPH clearly states on its website that self-made masks are not advised because they do not offer verified and reliable protection. Instead, the Swiss National COVID-19 Task Force has developed a set of recommendations and defined what requirements should be met.
Together with Empa, Testex has refined a testing procedure whereby textile masks are being evaluated on these recommended requirements for their filter function, splash resistance, wear comfort, reusability and additionally, their textile tolerance. As a result of the collaboration between the two St. Galler companies, Schoeller Textil and Forster Rohner, the Swiss market is now getting the first textile mask which carries the Testex Community Mask label. Schoeller supplies the sustainable fabric for the product and Forster Rohner uses it to make highly functional community masks, according to a press release by Testex.
The new label is intended to create trust and give the Swiss general public the opportunity to make a conscious decision in favour of a textile mask which has been tested according to the current recommendations.