Guidance for transparent medical mask technical specifications: Definitions

Filter area: An area of the mask, usually consisting of filter material and other layers as necessary to support the filter material. The filter area can also include or be replaced by, for example, foam strips used for seating the mask on the face, if that material is intended to make it easier to breather.

Face coverings: (also known as non-medical masks): Source control masks (to help control an infected wearer from transmitting the virus to others) that are made from a variety of woven fabrics. Face coverings may be made of different combinations of fabrics, layering sequences and available in diverse shapes. They are a sewn mask secured with ties or straps around the head or behind the ears. They are factory-made or made from household items such as scarves or t-shirts. In general, the fabrics and/or materials used in face coverings are not the same as the ones used in medical masks or respirators.

Medical device: A device within the meaning of the Food and Drugs Act, but does not include any device that is intended for use in relation to animals.

Medical masks: Includes surgical, procedural, isolation and other infection control devices intended to offer protection to the environment (surgical field, etc). They are designed with 3 or more layers of non-woven materials and meet labelled filtration levels (greater than 95%) using recognized standards.

Personal protective equipment (PPE): Consists of gowns, gloves, medical masks, facial protection (masks and eye protection, face shields or masks with visor attachment) or respirators.

Respirator: A device that is tested and certified by procedures established by testing and certification agencies recognized by the authority having jurisdiction and is used to protect the wearer from inhaling a hazardous atmosphere. The most common respirator used in health care is a N95 half-face piece-filtering respirator. It is a personal protective device that fits tightly around the nose and mouth of the wearer. It is used to reduce the wearer’s risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles and aerosols, including dust particles and infectious agents.

Transparent area: An area of the mask, usually consisting of a transparent plastic area, panel or molding, that makes the person’s lips, mouth and most of their face visible to others.

Transparent face covering: Provides source control and facilitates communications. They may or may not be effective for filtration or fluid resistance.

Transparent medical mask: Helps to reduce the spread of infectious particles to protect the environment (source control) while offering the benefit of visualization of the mouth for enhanced communication while wearing a medical mask. Must meet all the requirements for medical masks.

Source control: The wearing of a mask by an infected individual to prevent onward transmission.

Wearer protection: The wearing of a mask for protection against droplet or splash to the wearer when in close proximity to an infected individual (for example, within 2 metres for COVID-19 or influenza).

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