20th Jan 2022
Calls for national face mask regulation as efficacy of cloth masks questioned
Consumers opting to buy higher-grade face masks are being warned they may not be getting the protection they are paying for.
There has been discussion in recent weeks about the effectiveness of cloth masks in shielding people from spreading and catching COVID-19.
In the United States, some businesses and organisations will no longer allow access to anyone wearing a cloth mask and will instead require an approved N95 respirator.
“There’s been over 2,000 products withdrawn from the Therapeutic Goods Administration website alone that aren’t compliant,” Ms Whitelaw said.
“And these are just the ones sold into health care, not into hardware stores or small businesses.
Ms Whitelaw said it was very disappointing that no action had been taken since pandemic began.
“A lot of the focus has been on infection prevention and droplets, but the evidence that COVID is airborne has been around for years,” she said.
In a statement, the federal health department said the Therapeutic Goods Administration regulated face masks and respirators that were classified as medical devices.
A spokesperson said a review of all masks and respirators listed on the register audited manufacturer’s claims and validated their performance.
Norman Swan, host of the ABC’s Coronacast, said the issue around masks was more important now because of the contagiousness of the Omicron variant.
“We need to some action straight away, because this isn’t a new issue,” Ms Whitelaw said.
“SARS and MERS brought these issues up and nothing was done.