By Leon Gettler >>
MANY FACE MASKS are now coming onto the market. But according to Scott Huntsman, founder and CEO of Sydney-based All-Cast PPE Supplies – one of the country’s largest personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers – 80 percent of the masks available are not registered with the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) and therefore are not identified as being able to stop the transmission of COVID-19.
Mr Huntsman said Australia is now seeing “a flurry of cheap products on the market”.
“Just the other day, we were in a service station and it was $12.95 [for a box] and they claimed it would protect you from COVID-19 – and that’s one of the things you are not allowed to do,” Mr Huntsman told Talking Business.
He said about 80 percent of the masks for sale will not give sufficient protection.
“There’s a lot of brands that popped out of nowhere and you’ve got your cheaper imported products as well that are sold by street vendors,” Mr Huntsman said.
“We’ve even had landscapers contacting us to sell us masks, hoping we could move the product, so there would be thousands.”
Mr Huntsman said people picked up these masks thinking they would protect them from pathogens, but they are left vulnerable to COVID-19.
TIPS ABOUT QUALITY MASKS
Mr Huntsman said there are several things consumers should do when picking up face masks.
The first is to look for an Australian-made mask, which is to be registered with the TGA. They need to look at the filtration efficiency and examine the test results if they are available.
Generally, the manufacturer will feature those on their websites. They should examine their registration with the TGA. They should also read the packaging carefully.
“There is a lot of fake stuff on the market,” he said. “We get samples of them every day, and we look at the construction of those masks, we look at how thin the materials are, we water test them.
“With a good mask, you should be able to cup it in your hand and make a cup out of it and pour a glass of water in there without any leaks,” he said.
Part of the problem is that face masks can be sold without going through the TGA.
Vendors can sell them as long as they don’t make therapeutic claims of anti-viral protection and bacterial filtration.
THE ORIGINS OF ALL-CAST
Mr Huntsman said All-Cast was created as the brain-child of his brother-in-law and himself, setting it up as a family business.
Before the pandemic, the brothers saw it developing medical equipment and, subsequently, they saw there was a need for face masks. They did their research, crossed all the hurdles and established a successful business.
At one stage, they were employing 180 people and the company is now moving forward into other products on the market such as sterile wraps, surgical respirators, and industrial respirators.
Mr Huntsman said All-Cast, unlike other companies, never gouged prices. All-Cast pricing has remained the same throughout the entire pandemic.
He said the main market was the general population but the company planned to move into the direct medical space.
With COVID-19 likely to be around for some time, he sees the market moving into a continuous supply.
Mr Huntsman said the company was looking to move its masks into the global market. He has already had discussions with suppliers and is assisting other manufacturers in the US and Europe in terms of efficiency and product make-up.
Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at www.acast.com/talkingbusiness