(The Canadian made Ottawa Mask is available at all Kardish Health Food Centres across Ottawa. Photo: Submitted)
On May 20th, Kardish Health Food Centre announced the launch of the exclusive Ottawa Mask, which can be purchased at any one of the retailer’s seven locations across Ottawa. Proceeds from the sales of these masks will go towards CHEO.
The Ottawa Mask, developed by researchers at CHEO, is efficient in particle filtration and is also reusable. As masks are incredibly important in reducing the transmission of COVID-19, having a solution such as the Ottawa Mask makes keeping ourselves and others safe and healthy much easier. The high performing mask was developed in partnership with EcoEquitable and Dessius.
“The Ottawa Mask gives people an ideal alternative to un-tested cloth masks and one-time surgical masks designed for use in health care,” says Dr. Dayre McNally, a CHEO intensive care physician and researcher. “We wanted to provide a mask that was reusable, and yet had a known and validated level of protection.”
“Kardish is always looking for ways to support our community. We are excited to offer our community these top-quality masks that give back to CHEO, support EcoEquitable, and protect against COVID-19,” says Robert Assaf, President of Kardish Food Centre. “We’re looking forward to having these masks in our stores and making a difference during a difficult time.”
The American Society of Testing Materials recently specified that level 2 consumer/ community masks should have a particle filtration efficiency of at least 50%. At 88% prior to washing, the Ottawa Mask far exceeds the target of 50% particle filtration efficiency. After sterilization with soap and water, this high level of efficiency is maintained. Testing found that, even after 50 washes, the mask remains above 70% particle filtration efficiency. Additionally, both the fit and comfort of the mask have been tested to be most effective.
The Ottawa Mask serves as an effective alternative to widely available cloth masks and disposable medical grade surgical masks. Cloth masks may not be as effective in filtering out the virus and can sometimes be a poor fit. Disposable masks, while more effective than cloth masks in particle filtration, contribute to the high volume of disposed masks collecting in the environment and in landfills as they cannot be reused.
The masks are manufactured by EcoEquitable, a small Canadian charitable organization which supports newcomer women in developing the skills necessary for financial autonomy through sewing. The social enterprise aims to “green the environment”.
“The Ottawa Mask is manufactured to the highest standards,” says Anouk Bertner, Executive Director of EcoEquitable. “This partnership is an amazing example of how private industry, social enterprise, and scientific institutions can work together to improve Canada.”
Selling for $25 (against a manufacturing cost of $20), $5 from the sale of each mask goes toward supporting CHEO’s excellence in pediatric care, research, and education. The Ottawa Mask is available in three sizes:
- Youth – which generally fits children.
- Small/Medium – which generally fits adolescents, women, and those with narrower faces.
- Large/XL – which generally fits men and those with wider faces.
The Ottawa Mask is available for purchase at all Kardish locations.