Taking the Mystery out of Filtration

Most of us have some experience with filtration. My grandmother made jelly by separating juice from pulp with a cheesecloth. It was a mystery I loved watching, as that clear juice dribbled into a pitcher with a tantalizing aroma, catching twinkling glints from the sunlight pouring through the kitchen window. Many of us filter water from coffee, waking up to the delightful smell of liquid caffeine. Filtration, or the lack thereof, is the principle component in choosing what mask to wear.

Close your eyes a moment and imagine, if you will, something incredibly small. I thought of a pinpoint. What did you imagine? What most of us cannot comprehend is something as small as a virus. We grew up hearing about germs, because truly, both good and bad bacteria reside everywhere, but viruses are even smaller than bacteria. They are the smallest lifeform on earth. The largest virus is smaller than the smallest bacterium. Just knowing that the average virus is measured in nanometers meant nothing to me. I had to have some frame of reference, so I went digging.

A nanometer is one-billionth of a meter. To get a mental image of that, imagine an apple next to the planet earth. It’s a mystery how such a small, seemingly insignificant thing like a virus was ever discovered in the first place. Yet that tiny, insignificant virus wreaks havoc with our daily lives, doesn’t it?

How do you protect yourself from something so incredibly tiny? The only way is by filtering the air you breathe. Wear a mask designed to filter out these tiny particles. Whether the virus is suspended in tiny droplets in the air or in bioaerosols, the fact remains: they are transmitted through the air you breathe. It bears repetition: The only way to protect yourself from the virus is to filter the air you inhale.


Here are the filtration facts:


  • A cloth mask filters particles 20-100 nm in size. According to Oxford Academic, that is marginal protection. Remember a virus is one nanometer in size, so a cute cloth mask isn’t filtering out the coronavirus.
  • What about the masks professionals wear? The permeability of material used in surgical masks is highly superior to cotton or t-shirt fabric, filtering out large droplets or sprays of bodily fluid. It is designed to cover the mouth and nose loosely, and therein lies its major detraction when combatting the coronavirus. This CDC infographic demonstrates the difference between the types of masks professionals wear.

The results speak for themselves. As researchers nail down the intricacies of the coronavirus pandemic, they are learning how small things destroy us. They are also learning that everyone, from frontline workers down to children within families, can be protected. While it is true that most survive a bout with the coronavirus, the anecdotal tales of a healthy individual dead within days offer little reassurance. It’s like spinning a roulette wheel with your life being the chips on the table. Are you willing to bet you’re a survivor? Those survival odds decrease dramatically if your immunity is down one day, if you are recovering from surgery, if you suffer an underlying medical condition like asthma or COPD.

The only protection against the coronavirus lies in wearing an industrial-grade filtration mask. Yes, it’s that simple. I’m a lover of all things cute, but when it comes to masks, go pro or go home. You may want to believe you are invincible, but no one is always invincible. The masks from Ecohealth KC offer you that protection, and the best part is—they are made for every member of the family.