No, you can’t use bras as makeshift face masks, health secretary clarifies

It turns out you actually can’t use bras as face masks if you want to be effectively protected against toxic volcanic ashfall authorities said yesterday, in a clarification they likely never expected to find themselves giving.

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III said on the TV news show Balitanghali yesterday that the DOH doesn’t recommend using the lift-giving undergarments because they aren’t porous enough, which would make it difficult for people to breathe.

The unorthodox PSA came after several news sites reported that bras and diapers could be used as alternative protective gear after panic buying spurred by the Taal Volcano’s ashfall led to a dearth of face masks.

However, the source of the apparently false rumors appears to have been the DOH itself. Department Assistant Secretary Maria Francia Laxamana said in a Malacañang press briefing on Tuesday that Filipinos should be creative in light of the shortage, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.

“If worse comes to worst and you really don’t have face masks, that’s an alternative that you can use,” she said. “There are more creative ways of doing things, like using a shirt. Other creative ways are using a bra, panty.”

According to Duque, Laxamana’s statements were merely her opinion and didn’t represent that of the department. He added that better alternatives were damp handkerchiefs and towels.

Duque also said that consumers buying conventional face masks should look for a seal from the National Institute of Food Safety and Health and the Food and Drug Administration to be sure that the masks they’re buying are legit.

Real N95-grade masks should also be thick and durable, he added.


This article, No, you can’t use bras as makeshift face masks, health secretary clarifies, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia's leading alternative media company. Want more Coconuts? Sign up for our newsletters!