The Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) commissioned the Terrassa Textile Research Institute (INTEXTER) to carry out a study in order to choose the most suitable mask on the market for the protection of the University's staff and students.
A commission made up of teaching and research experts, as well as administrative staff, studied 14 different types of reusable hygienic face masks on the market. They checked that they complied with the UNE 0065:2020 specification and that they had the correct certifications, as well as their ergonomics and comfort of use.
The commission highlighted the number of masks on offer on the market and that many do not guarantee their effectiveness, as they are not approved by a laboratory accredited by ENAC (Entidad Nacional de Acreditación) such as AITEX.
Once all those that did not have a test report certified by AITEX had been eliminated. They proceeded to score the characteristics of each hygienic mask according to their quality and safety, as well as environmental and cost aspects. Specifically, the efficiency of bacterial filtration, differential pressure, the certifying centre, the composition, the minimum number of washes guaranteed and the place of production were evaluated.
The winning model was the Skut mask manufactured by Arpe in Arenys de Munt (Barcelona). Mask made from recycled yarn from post-consumer PET bottles and using 100% renewable energy (Som Energia).
The panel of experts highlighted the long textile tradition of the Catalan company, its commitment to the environment (ISO14001) and the circular economy, the ISO9001 certified quality guarantee, the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 Class I safety guarantee and the accreditation of the recycled content of the Global Recycled Standard (GRS).
He also highlighted the awards and recognitions received by Arpe such as the 3rd PSI Sustainability Award 2019 (Wiesbaden, Germany), AITPA's 2018 Innovative Trajectory Award or the Award for the company's social values (Pimes PIMEC Awards 2016).