Melbourne business leaders launch very effective reusable mask after losing a family member to COVID-19

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Media Release

ActiveMask combats current mask issues, effectively protects Australians and creates a pipeline of new sophisticated manufacturing jobs in Victoria.

A new Australian-made, reusable, environmentally friendly and industrial strength mask has been created to protect Australians including frontline workers. ActiveMask, which has superior quality filters and improved safety and comfort, has been specifically designed to combat several issues associated with current available masks.

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Launched by two Melbourne friends and successful entrepreneurs including Adrian Critchlow the co-founder of Booking.com, and Mehdi Qerim Managing Director of Solid Foundation Investments, who both set out to create an effective mask for life following Adrian’s father’s death earlier this year due to COVID-19.

The devastating event inspired Adrian to create a solution to help effectively protect both the public and frontline workers including nurses, doctors, the police, SES, ambulance, fire service and other government and service personnel from the highly infectious disease and other life-threatening situations including bushfires.

“Australians, particularly Victorians, will be required to wear masks for some time into the future. It will remain a critical piece of equipment for many years on the other side of the current COVID-19 crisis. Yet, many single use and fabric mask designs have significant drawbacks that limit their efficacy putting the wearer at potential risk and they are made of melt-blown plastic, which ends up in landfill or our waterways,” said Mr Critchlow.

“We set out to design a mask that is reusable for life. The ActiveMask is specifically created to solve a number of concerns with current face masks. We’re already seeing hundreds of them being audited and removed from Australia’s register of therapeutic goods given they don’t adequately prevent infection. ActiveMask is a high-quality mask appropriate for both personal and professional use, with top quality filter materials (designed for NASA and the British Army) for sustained and superior protection,” he said.

ActiveMask is designed to be comfortable to wear thanks to its soft, gentle silicone seal. It has a multi-layer filter that can be detached for cleaning, sterilising or replacing. It has a hard internal surface to reduce the build-up of moisture in the mask, which makes it safer and more comfortable to wear and easier to clean.

A key feature of the multi-layered mask is the layer of Activated Carbon, originally designed for the British Army for chemical and biological protection. It also includes a P2/N95 filter material originally designed for NASA. Instead of using plastic, it is derived from wool with the natural fibre providing a highly effective natural filtration with low breathing resistance. The result is better airflow and a more comfortable mask.

The mask has been specially designed to protect the wearer, and everyone around them. Its patented exhale valve and cutting-edge N95 filtration system purify both the air being inhaled, and the air being exhaled. This means that everyone, including the wearer and everyone around them, remains safe.

“We know this is particularly important for emergency services workers who share small spaces with others and come into close proximity with members of the general public,” Mr Critchlow said.

“In addition to safety, we also had the environment top of mind. We wanted to address one of the big issues with disposable masks and the predicted surge of ocean pollution. A number of discarded single-use masks are washing up on shorelines and littering the seabed. Some disposable masks have a life span of more than 400 years and can have a devastating environmental impact for our planet,” he said.

With manufacturing at scale about to commence, ActiveMask is set to create hundreds of jobs, which is welcome news for many Victorians currently out of work. Co-founder Mehdi Qerim said the company is not only keen to keep Australians safe, but also support local manufacturing and jobs.

“ActiveMask will be entirely designed and constructed right here in Victoria. It is important that Australia develops its own supply pipeline for sophisticated, protective masks,” Mr Qerim said. We have already had enquiries from the UK, US and Asia so we see a sizable export opportunity for a quality manufactured Australian mask.

“We are in the final stages of scouting locations for our manufacturing facilities. Currently, Geelong, Ballarat, and Port Melbourne are the short-listed sites. We currently estimate that we will be producing commercial volumes of ActiveMasks within eight to 12 weeks,” he said.

For more information on ActiveMask, visit https://www.activemask.com.au

Image credit: https://www.activemask.com.au

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