SGS Launches Independently Checked Mark For Reusable Fabric Masks In The United States And Canada

FAIRFIELD, N.J. — February 18, 2021 — As more and more people in the US are wearing face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, SGS has announced a new way for consumers to know if reusable fabric masks conform to industry and regulatory requirements.

Indeed today, SGS, a global testing and certification company, launched an independently checked mark to help consumers wade through the various claims with respect to masks and face coverings.

“Consumers need reassurance from manufacturers and retailers that the reusable fabric masks they are using are performing as intended”, said Matthew McGarity, senior PPE technical manager for SGS North America. “They also need to know important criteria such as how many laundering cycles their masks can go through until they are no longer of use.”

SGS worked with leading experts in textiles, filtration and restricted substances to draft various domestic and mask/face covering guidelines. The Independently Checked Mark (IC Mark) may be used to indicate that the subject mask has been tested for certain characteristics including breathability, particle filtration efficiency, labeling, strap/attachment strength, service life claims, restricted substances and flammability.

In particular, the new IC Mark tests and qualifies utilizing key performance attributes from a newly published industry consensus standard, ASTM F3502 Standard Specification for Barrier Face Coverings. SGS and other industry experts helped draft the new standard which includes criteria such as design, minimum performance, and care/use instructions.

A key benefit of the new IC Mark for manufacturers, retailers and consumers is the increased transparency it creates. It is a clear demonstration that the manufacturer has chosen to focus on critical quality and performance characteristics, creating a product that meets or exceeds the minimum requirements of the ASTM F3502 standard.

Samples are drawn at random and sent to one of SGS’s global network of independent laboratories to be tested. Test results are published online, with each IC Mark including a Quick Response (“QR”) code on the packaging which consumers can scan using their cell phones to get instant access to the test results.

Consumers can find a brief description of the product with an image, the date and scope of the test, the test criteria and results, plus the approval number. It also provides details of the manufacturer and any applicable retailers.

Posted February 18, 2021

Source: SGS North America Inc.