1929 Mask donates 2,000 BAC-treated masks to migrant workers
- 1929 reusable masks treated with benzalkonium chloride to kill germs
- Company aims to make first reusable mask with high bacteria filtration efficiency
Singapore, 11 April 2020 – Singapore start-up 1929 Mask today donated 2,000 reusable masks treated with benzalkonium chloride (BAC) to migrant workers as the government moved to isolate many of them from dormitories across the island amid the spread of Covid-19.
The masks were handed over to Migrant Workers Centre (MWC) to be distributed to the first group of workers who are being transferred out of dorms which have become clusters for the coronavirus infection.
Keenon Lee, founder of 1929 Mask, said: “We are privileged to have this opportunity to do our part to keep our migrant workers safe. This is our way of saying ‘thank you’ to them for their part in helping to build our economy, our homes, offices, schools, roads and other infrastructure.
“In the last few weeks, our company has seen brisk sales and we intend to scale up even faster because of the ongoing shortage of masks.”
Mr Lee started 1929 Mask in March this year as a diversification from the family’s fabric-manufacturing business. His parents, Mr Steven Lee and Mdm Ng Cheng Choon, are veterans in the textile-making business through their company, Rengitex, which operates a factory in Batu Pahat, Malaysia.
The elder Mr Lee spent 19 years in the chemicals business with Union Carbide before joining his wife, who worked as a quality controller with Esprit prior to setting up Rengitex. The masks from 1929 are treated with BAC to kill the germs left on their surface.
Mr Keenon Lee explained: “Reusable masks do not have the same high bacteria filtration efficiency of a surgical mask. Most people don’t realise that the germs filtered out by a mask don’t disappear into thin air. They stay on the mask.
“When a person takes off his mask or puts it in his pocket, he is transferring the germs from the mask to his hand or pocket. So, you need the BAC to kill the germs before the germs kill you.”
1929’s three-ply mask is also water-repellent so that droplets roll off the mask and not stay on it. Mr Lee said its masks have been tested for anti-microbial property by Bureau Veritas, and achieved an average of 87.49% bacteria filtration efficiency (BFE) by TUV SUD, a leading test centre.
Mr Steven Lee said that while the nature of cotton and polyester makes it difficult for reusable masks to attain the minimum 95% BFE of surgical masks, he is conducting experiments and hopes to be the first to achieve that standard for 1929’s reusable masks.
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