Face coverings are still in need ― not just among health care workers, but everyone ― as we continue to navigate the pandemic.
Johns Manville’s plants in Scottsboro, Alabama, and in Richland, Mississippi, recently came together to help improve the efficacy of face masks made by Just Breathe, a non-profit organization in the Scottsboro area.
Since the start of the pandemic, 30 Just Breathe volunteers have made more than 4,000 face masks for people working in hospitals, nursing homes, dental facilities, restaurants and many other industries. All materials and time spent making the face coverings are donated.
At first, the masks were made of just cotton with an open flap, and people added any filtration material they could find, such as basic household items like coffee filters. Once JM’s Scottsboro Plant Manager Terry Couch got word about the need for more effective filtration, he wanted to help.
“We commend all the volunteers at Just Breathe for everything they’re doing to help people during this crisis, and we felt compelled to support,” Couch said.
Couch contacted JM’s Richland Plant Manager Lee Young to see about getting some Evalith® meltblown polypropylene material for Just Breathe. JM media meets or exceeds Level 1 BFE 95% (Bacterial Filtration Efficiency) and VFE (Viral Filtration Efficiency) requirements. These results were verified by an FDA-registered national laboratory.
Since the start of the pandemic, Young said JM’s Richland facility has received a high volume of daily requests for this in-demand material. Young was able to provide 2,300 square feet of the product. This has allowed Just Breathe’s volunteers to sew the filtration media into the masks so that they are more effective in helping in the fight against COVID-19.
“We really appreciate JM providing us with this material,” said Pat Blankenship, a lead volunteer at Just Breathe. “It’s been a godsend.”
In addition to masks, Just Breathe also makes medical gowns, as well as hair and shoe coverings. As the need for protective gear remains strong, the organization has no plans to stop making these items anytime soon.