Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies

Search interest in types of face coverings, 2020.

1. Blue Surgical Masks (72%)

2. N95 Masks (22%)

3. Face Shields (6%)

An estimated 5 million workers are required to wear respirators in 1.3 million workplaces throughout the United States according to the US Department of Labor.

Even before Covid-19, the use of face masks was not uncommon. OSHA still needed to ensure compliance.

However, OSHA enforces protections from things closer to asbestos than a virus.

With a patchwork of guidelines in 2020 and more consistency in 2021, the trend stayed steady. Blue surgical masks are the most popular face coverings.

Although neck gaiters were not among the top 3 face coverings, they seem to more popular than face shields. But, neck gaiters have questionable effectiveness (see CDC report).

😷 Top 3 Most Popular Face Coverings According to Google


1. Blue Surgical Masks (72%)

A mask that provides a physical barrier to large droplets and respiratory particle. Most do not filter out small particles nor provide a fit that prevents leakage. Surgical masks provide advanced bacterial filtration efficiency. The widespread acceptance of blue surgical masks among medical professionals is proof of their effectiveness.

For comfort and practicality, most surgical masks have a metal nose wire to prevent safety glasses from fogging. The CDC recommends the user to dispose of your mask after each use. Disposable masks do not provide protection from small airborne droplets. But, the masks protect others from the user’s respiratory emissions. 


2. N95 Masks (22%)

Respirators are rated by the type of contaminants and how much they filter out. Each rating has a letter (N) and number (95). The numbers refer to the percentage of one-micrometer particles removed during trials.

KN95 masks provide similar protection to N95 mask but for consumers. Four layers of material provide 95% filtration efficiency. Similar to the N95, the masks are filter liquid aerosols without being oil resistant. The CDC does not regulate KN95 masks so caution must be used by the consumers. Not all KN95 masks are created equally.

surgery face shield

3. Face Shields (6%)

A face shield protects the user’s eyes and face from liquid splashes. The user situates the shield at the crown of the head. The plastic covers the user’s eyes and face. Because disposable masks are not form fitting, they leak air. A face shield can ensure you are protected from the faults in a disposable mask. 

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