To - Honourable Tyler Shandro, Minister of Health of Alberta, Dr. Verna Yiu, President and CEO of Alberta Health Services
Grave concerns exist about the safety and efficacy of the current supply of Vanch “Disposable Medical Face Masks”. These masks are of poor quality, substandard, consistently malfunction, and do not provide adequate personal protection against a very capable viral pathogen.
Our direct experience with these masks confirms: the fit is poor and the material over the bridge of the nose does not hold its shape nor keep the mask solidly in place. This causes the wearer to inevitably touch the mask to prevent displacement. This entirely undermines the rationale for wearing a mask. The mask has caused skin irritation, nausea, and profound headaches, which is amplified over many hours of work.
These concerns have been directed to Alberta Health Services (AHS) and their official response on April 20, 2020 was to reiterate that the “masks meet certain industrial and safety standards and as such are considered adequate and appropriate PPE.
”Investigation into the Vanch mask reveals “This standard is inapplicable to a medical protective mask and surgical mask.”(1) An important distinction is made between a “medical face mask” and a “medical protective mask” and a “surgical mask.”
"Ordinary medical masks implement the medical industry's recommended standard YY / T0969-2013 "Disposable Medical Masks", which are generally used in ordinary medical environments and have a low level of protection. This type of mask cannot effectively prevent pathogens from invading through the respiratory tract, nor can it effectively protect particles and bacterial viruses... [for use in] the public in non-intensiveplaces."(2) Neither the chosen Chinese standard (YYT0969-2013), nor the European standard (EN14683 II/IIR) masks are rated to filter particles or to protect adequately from splash contamination.
#abdocs4patients has filed a request to the Access to Information Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. A-1.) to fully comprehend the quality of the PPE we are being provided with and to gain insight into which PPE products the UCP government has distributed to other provinces without first assuring Alberta’s physician’s needs were met.#abdocs4patients is also investigating the effectiveness of the PPE with a toxicologyfirm.#abdocs4patients disagree with AHS’ assessment and government reassurance about this substandard equipment further dismissing our concern as “preference”. Our personal safety is not a preference.
As your front-line essential staff, we are putting our lives and the livelihood of our families at stake. The thought of a firefighter or oilfield worker being asked to go into a blaze with unsafe and inadequate equipment is unconscionable.
Our sacrifice has limits.#abdocs4patients
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