Analysis of the materials for the manufacture of masks: The challenge of facing the shortage of personal protective equipment

Enferm Clin. 2021 Feb;31 Suppl 1:S73-S77. doi: 10.1016/j.enfcli.2020.12.031. Epub 2020 Dec 13.
[Article in English, Spanish]


The main element of personal protective equipment against the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic are masks, which protect against droplets and aerosols that can remain suspended in the air. The objective of this study is to summarize the existing evidence on the filtration of different materials for the manufacture of masks. A scoping review or exploratory review has been carried out in the PubMEd and Scopus databases, using the terms "respirator", "mask", "facemask", "material", and "tissue", combined with Boolean operators. The results show some of the materials used for the manufacture of masks, both surgical masks and medium-high filtration masks, as well as materials used for the manufacture of household masks. As a conclusion, it is necessary to know the characteristics of the different materials as well as their properties to guarantee an adequate use according to the specific needs in each context, being fundamental the application of particle filtration systems as well as support materials that comply with current recommendations.

Keywords: COVID-19; Equipos de protección individual; Individual protective equipment; Mascarillas; Masks.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • Cellulose / standards
  • Equipment Design / methods
  • Filtration / instrumentation
  • Filtration / standards
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Masks / standards*
  • Masks / supply & distribution
  • Pandemics
  • Personal Protective Equipment / supply & distribution
  • Polypropylenes / standards
  • SARS-CoV-2*
  • Static Electricity
  • Textiles / standards


  • Polypropylenes
  • Cellulose