Textile firms rile against new face mask rules
New European FFP2 face mask rules could harm Portugal’s textile industry says an industry representative.
European countries are making the introduction and use of FFP1 or FFP2 face masks obligatory but the new measure could harm exporting Portuguese textile firms who make millions of the current EU-accepted masks, according to the Textile and Clothing Centre (Citeve).
So far Germany, France and Austria are making the use of the more effective anti-covid surgical masks mandatory.
“This regulation will have a very negative impact on mask sales and exports from Portugal. We have been exporting lots of masks to countries that have now made this change, like France and Germany.
“This is a market that it going to close its doors to exports, including Portuguese exports,” says the Managing Director of Citeve, Braz Costa.
Braz Costa says that this mandatory ruling in some European countries especially has to do with a lack of quality control on mask manufacture.
“Germany and France are countries that don’t manufacture them, but import masks. They have jumped to the conclusion that they’ve been importing a bad product (from Portugal) and having doubts have opted for imposing the use of FFP1 and FFP2,” he said.
“If there weren’t doubts in these countries about the quality of EU Community masks that are on the market, there wouldn’t have been any reason to make the use of FFP1 or FFP2 masks mandatory,” adds Braz Costa
When used correctly, FFP2 have the capacity to filter around 94% of particles. But, the director of Citeve points out, “There is no evidence that a level of filtration of 70% or 95% are any different for the type of use for EU masks.”
“Our masks are Level 2 with filtration rates of 90% and I don’t expect there to be any deviation in quality and see no reason not to use certified EU masks,” he concluded.
The FFP1 and FFP2 surgical masks which have four protective layers are believed to perhaps be more effective at protecting wearers from being infected with the more contagious English variant of the Covid-19 virus.
Neither the Minister of Health Marta Temido nor health officials and doctors believe that Portugal should, for now, follow the German, French or Austrian example.