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Assessment of the wearability of facemasks against air pollution in primary school-aged children in London.

Smart, N.R. and Horwell, C.J. and Smart, T.S. and Galea, K.S (2020) 'Assessment of the wearability of facemasks against air pollution in primary school-aged children in London.', International journal of environmental research and public health., 17 (11). p. 935.


Air pollution is a major health problem and children are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects. Facemasks are one form of protection but, to be effective, they need to filter out airborne pollutants, fit the face well and be wearable. In this pilot study, we assess the perceived wearability of three facemasks (Vogmask, TuHao and ReSpimask) marketed in the UK as being designed to protect children against exposure to air pollution. Twenty-four primary school children wore each facemask during a standardised walking and running activity. After each activity, the children were asked to rate facemask wearability in terms of parameters, such as perceived comfort, hotness, breathability and fit. At the end of the trial, the children compared and identified their preferred facemask. The main complaint about the facemasks was the children’s faces being too hot. The ReSpimask was most frequently reported as being perceived to be the hardest to breathe through. The TuHao facemask was the only adjustable strap mask assessed but was reported to be difficult to adjust. Facemasks with a nose clip were frequently rated highest for fit (TuHao and Vogmask). The patterned, cloth fabric Vogmask had significantly higher ratings for appearance and perceived fit. The results show children’s perceptions of facemasks are highly affected by the facemask’s design, hotness and perceived breathability. By making children’s facemasks more appealing, breathable, cooler and improving their fit, wearability may be improved.

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Date accepted:29 May 2020
Date deposited:02 June 2020
Date of first online publication:02 June 2020
Date first made open access:02 June 2020

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