Vicare MedicalSupplies | Proud local manufacturer producing Australian made face masks

Vicare Medical Supplies is a manufacturer and distributer of medical equipment and consumables, based in Tullamarine, Melbourne. We provide essential PPE for healthcare workers to ensure they can safely provide world-class patient care.

We supply a range of high-quality consumables and equipment at competitive prices.

We are a distributor and representative of some of the latest equipment and technology in Blood Banking & Blood Donation Collection via our partnership with Delcon. We also represent InovaAir, an Australian manufacturer of air purification technology.

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A disposable face mask is designed to be worn to prevent the wearer contaminating a clean environment when exhaling and to prevent the wearer being exposed to certain contaminants within an environment when inhaling.

This is the Australian Standard that covers ‘Single-use face masks for use in health care’.

Face masks are classified into different levels based on meeting a minimum threshold of the AS 4381:2015 performance characteristics. The manufacturer must have supporting evidence (results of analysis) to claim their product is a level  2 face mask.

Vicare Medical Supplies can provide these test results upon request.

The performance characteristics of levels of barrier protection are according to AS 4381:2015. The details are as follows:

General use barrier performance characteristics

BFE% ≥95%, differential pressure is < 4.0mm H20/cm2, resistance to penetration by synthetic blood, minimum pressure in mmHg for pass result is 80 mmHg.

Level 2 barrier performance characteristics

BFE% ≥98%, differential pressure is < 5.0mm H20/cm2, resistance to penetration by synthetic blood, minimum pressure in mmHg for pass result is 120 mmHg.

Test methods on performance characteristics

BFE% is tested with ASTM F2101-14 or EN 14683:2014 Appendix B, differential pressure is tested with EN 14683:2014 Appendix C and resistance to penetration by synthetic blood (minimum pressure in mmHg for pass result) is tested with ASTM F1862/F1862M-13 or ISO22609.

BFE% stands for Bacterial Filtration Efficiency as a percentage. This tests the efficiency of the filter layer of the face mask to capture bacteria species (down to 3.0µm in size), preventing these from passing through the mask.

Differential Pressure is the measurement of force applied to the surface area of the mask whilst air is passing through. This indicates the breathability of the mask or how easily the wearer can inhale air through the mask.

Fluid Resistance is the analysis of fluid penetrating the mask under pressure. This is used to determine whether the materials of the mask will be resistant to biological fluid splashes and provide protection.

There is no set time that a face mask can be worn for.

The disposable face mask should be discarded, and a new mask worn, when:

  • The mask is exposed to environmental contaminants (i.e. a biological splash occurs)
  • The inner layer of the mask is saturated by exhaled moisture
  • The wearer moves between environmental settings (i.e. exits a clean environment)
  • If the mask becomes damaged in any way during use (i.e. tears)

Disposable face masks are designed for ‘single-use only’ and should not be re-used.

Vicare face masks are made from 3 Polypropylene (PP) fabrics. The outer layer is a hydrophobic, spunbond non-woven fabric. The middle layer is a meltblown fabric that acts as a filter. The inner layer is a soft, spunbond non-woven fabric.

Biocompatibility is used to describe whether the material will cause any skin irritation. Testing is performed to determine whether the materials are suitable for use.

The size of a face mask is important as the mask needs to cover the mouth and nose. The mask should feel firmly fitted to the face as a loose fit will not direct airflow through the filter material. The mask should feel comfortable to wear, a mask that is too tight may cause ear pain and obstruct normal breathing.

There are different sized masks for adults and children.

Fit Testing is the term given to the assessment of a respirator and how it should be worn by each individual. Fit Testing applies to N95 compliant products, where particle filtration is tested to a size of 0.1µm.

Disposable face masks are not ‘Fit Tested’ as they do not offer the same filtration efficiency as an N95 respirator.

Our face masks are made of polypropylene (PP), which is a type of plastic material. This material is not readily biodegradable and Vicare make no claims as to the timeframe for biodegrading of our material.

Some products made from PP are accepted for recycling programs, however not all products are accepted. Your local recycling authority would be able to address whether they have a face mask recycling program in place.

Vicare disposable face masks do not offer any protection from chemicals.

Vicare does not have any data on chemical permeation and we do not make any claim of chemical resistance.

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