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Face Covering Safety in Research Labs




mask flammable

Does the type of face covering worn in the lab matter?

Earlier this year a UCLA researcher suffered facial burns when a laboratory fire ignited their surgical mask.

Surgical masks are made of synthetic materials such as polypropylene. These materials catch fire easily and tend to melt as they burn.


What type of face covering should be worn in a research lab?

Cotton is much more difficult to ignite and can be coated to enhance its fire resistance. UCLA EH&S stocks flame-resistant face coverings in the Emergency PPE Store

Flame-resistant or 100% cotton face coverings should be worn any time you are working with open flames, pyrophoric or water-reactive materials, large quantities of flammable materials, or any quantity of a flammable material in the presence of an ignition source.