It has been a rather unusual year this far. Words and phrases we had never heard before – lockdown, pandemic, social distancing, super spreader have become commonplace.
As the global death toll resulting from COVID-19 approaches half a million and shows no sign of pausing, it is a time of grave concern.
There is no medically preventive measure such as a vaccine—the only tools in the box that we can use are social distancing and a face mask. Hand washing and sanitizers also help us fight back against the invisible enemy.
Hemp Cloth Face Masks To the Rescue
Hemp has been around for centuries. It is a remarkably versatile fiber that has been used to manufacture cordage and fabric that is long-lasting and environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, the plant from which we derive hemp clothing, Cannabis Sativa, has become somewhat infamous over the past half-century due to its association with cannabis.
What is not known is that there are two varieties of the same species and the Cannabis Sativa plant that produces hemp cloth contains a minute fraction of the mind-altering chemicals that its notorious sibling has.
Hemp cloth is ideal for manufacturing face masks and preventing the pandemic from getting out of hand. But at times it has to take a backseat to cotton that is marketed better. Thankfully the situation is changing, and everyone is becoming aware of the enormous benefits of using hemp cloth face masks.
Role of Hemp Face Masks in Preventing COVID-19
What is the COVID-19 pathogen? It is a virus, the simplest form of life. There are many forms of coronavirus, and we get infected by them often. It passes off with a bout of fever and headache – something we know as viral fever.
The new species of coronavirus is a deadly one. Not only does it spread fast, but it also causes fatalities. COVID-19 spreads through sputum and mucus secreted by our respiratory system. That is why a sneeze is deadly since it can carry the virus across fifteen feet, followed by a cough which can send it six feet.
Even the simple act of conversing or breathing heavily can cause coronavirus to be shed by an infected person. To protect against this, you need to be at least five feet away, preferably more and use a face mask made of hemp.
The hemp mask has two functions –
- It prevents you from infecting others. One of the biggest problems with such infections is that up to three-fourths of the infected do not show any symptoms or at most very mild ones. Someone who looks healthy, has no cough or fever might infect others since they are asymptomatic. Should you not prevent yourself from infecting others and protecting our future? This is as much an effort at individual level as collectively.
- The second role of a mask is that it prevents you from getting infected. The virus can enter your body through the mouth, nose and eyes. The mask effectively seals off the first two when you are away from the safety of your home. It is lifesaving and unknown to you has probably prevented you from becoming ill several times in the past few months.
Why are hemp masks superior?
Hemp vs Synthetic
The cheapest masks are made of synthetic material. They are almost always powder blue in color and easily identifiable as something you have seen at a hospital.
This type of mask was not meant to be used in a pandemic at all but by a surgeon while operating. That is why they are not reusable and thrown away after the surgery is over.
However, just imagine the strain on the ecosystem when billions of people begin to use and throw them away after a day. Since they are really cheap, they are appealing. Also, they look sterile and therefore, there is a psychological comfort in wearing them. After all, doctors wear them so they must be effective.
There is, however, a flaw in the theory since no medical professional uses it outdoors, but in a cool and dehumidified surgical ward instead.
Being synthetic, they do not at all absorb sweat and cause itching all over the face after a couple of days use. Besides, they are also extremely uncomfortable to wear in a subtropical country.
Hemp vs Cotton
Hemp wins this one hands down. The hemp plant contains an oil known as CBD that is antiseptic in nature. The CBD content is certainly not high enough for altering mood but just enough to offer you better protection against invisible threats as compared to cotton.
The presence of a variety of plant chemicals and alkaloids in hemp cloth makes it the ideal material to make a face mask. Imagine having a barrier to entry over your mouth and nose that kills germs naturally. Is that not a fantastic ally to have in this deadly battle?
Hemp has a unique molecular structure. Due to this reason, it can hold 50% of its own weight in water. It goes without saying that a warm and humid summer causes copious amounts of sweat. If the sweat accumulates, one gets rashes and itchy skin that needs medication.
If there is one thing you have to avoid if possible, it is medicating yourself and making your immune system weak. Hemp successfully wicks off all the sweat pouring out of you and lets your skin breathe and be healthy without any effort at all.
Can you imagine how many billions of masks are in use now? At three billion humans live in urban areas, and they have got one on. Most probably they buy a new one every few days. That is tens of billions of used masks that are making their way to landfill sites. Remember that we have found evidence of cotton in Harappa civilization dating back to 3500 BC. Processed cotton can last decades without degrading.
Hemp quickly changes into compost, and this makes it an ideal material to use when our planet is already under so much strain. None of us wants to see huge sites filled sky high with soiled cotton masks after all this is over in a year or two, hopefully.
Hemp is remarkably strong. That is why ropes are made of hemp and not cotton. Sailors have trusted hemp with their lives for millennia.
You need a mask that you are sure would last you all day and not tear apart suddenly. If you are looking for a face covering made of robust material, look no further than hemp. While hemp is durable, it is not at all rough. Modern technology has ensured that hemp is soft and feels gentle against your skin.
You must never underestimate your role in this pandemic. If each of us acts carefully, we stop this contagion dead in its tracks.
What better way to do it than with a hemp cloth face mask. Younot only stay safe and healthy but wear protective gear that uses as little resources as possible.
Hemp uses half the amount of water needed for making cotton masks. Hemp cultivation yields more per hectare but uses minimal pesticides.
Keep your face free from polyester yarns and harmful dyes and wear colorful hemp cloth face masks to look cool while fending off life-threatening infection.
Author Bio: Vishal Vivek is the CEO and Co-Founder at Hemp Foundation.
Hemp Foundation’s mission is to fight Global warming, plastic pollution, deforestation, wild species extinction through promotion of Hemp in fashion industry and at the same time provide jobs to marginalized communities of artisans and farmers in rural Himalayan villages and give them global reach.