Q. How long can I wear the mask?
A. The suggested wearing time is 3 to 4 hours per day. Though extensive safety data are available on copper ingestion, inhalation, and skin contact, very little data are available on extended wear of a copper mesh mask, for example, eight hours a day, every day. Three to four hours was about the general length of an airplane trip or a doctor’s visit. As more data become available, these suggested wearing times may be extended.
Copper has powerful antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. Limiting wear will hopefully better ensure copper’s effectiveness for years to come.
Q. Will the mask cause irritation?
A. Allergy, sensitivity, and irritation to copper are rare. If a person is allergic to the copper, he/she may experience discomfort, redness, redmarks, irritation, rash, pain, swelling, and/or blisters that usually resolve quickly when the mask is removed.The mask or insert should be discontinued immediately and returned for full refund. Of note, if copper or metal sensitivity suspected, the small copper patch can be adhered with hypoallergenic tape to the underside of the upper arm. After 24 hours, the patch can be removed and inspected for signs of redness, irritation, or blisters. If this occurs, discontinue use immediately and return the mask for a full refund.
Usually, medical treatment is not needed. However, if any of the above symptoms become worse or if the red marks/rashes are spreading, medical advice should be immediately sought.
Q. Is the mask safe to wear?
A. Copper is needed to maintain health and occurs in foods. Absorbing trace amounts is safe. The minuscule amounts deposited in the nose, 1.6ppm in the highest sample after two hours of wear, was 3 orders of magnitude lower than the amount of copper dust that would need to be inhaled to cause an adverse effect, 994 pp. Copper detected on soaking (eluting) the entire mask in water at 37°C for 72 hours was only 2 ppm. Copper has to be ingested as a chronic oral ingestion in food and water that supplies more than >5mg/kg to reach toxic levels and cause harm. (1, 2)
- Aggett PJ Fairweather-Tait. Adaptations to high and low copper: its relevance to estimate safe and adequate daily dietary intake. S.Am J Clin Nutri 1998; 6:1061S-1063S
- Copper and the Skin, Hostynek and Maibach ed, Informa healthcare, NY and London. P57. 73:2006.
Q. Do viruses penetrate the mesh mask?
If a person with a respiratory infection sneezes directly in your face, penetration can occur; however, this is true of most masks. The viruses travel on water droplets and aerosols. If a person sneezes, for example, 3 to 4 feet from you, because the mask is “water-resistant”, the mask repels the droplets and aerosols. (See below. Water poured from a height of one inch does not penetrate the mask.) Once the virus touches the copper, a rapid inactivation of the viruses occurs. This is known as contact kill. Also, the copper mesh deposits copper in the nose, potentially providing extra protection. (See User Comments)
Q. Can I wear the mask during my workouts at the gym?
A. Wearing the mask or insert (or any mask) during strenuous exercising is not recommended. Breathing is impeded, even with the copper mesh mask. Overheating may occur. Also, you will be placing a lot of moisture from your breath on the mask. This will cause rapid tarnishing that will appear as dark areas on the mask located by your nose and mouth.
Q. Can I put the insert into a pocket on a mask?
Placing the mesh insert into a pocket on a mask can impede the flow of copper atoms into the nasal area. It can decrease the efficacy of the mask.