Busting face mask myths: 4 myths about the use of face masks

At the start of 2020, we entered an era of social isolation unlike any other in recent history. People were forced to lockdown in their homes and countries, which challenged our very way of living. 

Face masks, until then, were only used in countries with high pollution rate. But in April 2020, all that changed and face masks were everywhere. Governments around the world advocated the use of face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. People who had never used masks before, were uncomfortable using it and as a result there has been a lot of misinformation about the use of face masks.

As a company whose purpose is to provide clean and healthy air to everyone, we decided to take matters into our own hands, and debunk 4 myths surrounding the use of face masks.

Myth 1: I cannot breathe well when I put the mask over my mouth and nose

To prevent the spread of droplets containing the coronavirus, it is important that your face mask covers your mouth and nose. Infectious droplets can be transmitted via the nose, so if your mask covers only your mouth, it isn’t offering full protection.

MEO Air face masks are designed based on extensive research and careful design that follow the shape of your face. They can be moulded to fit every face with comfort and its distinctive shape and features reduce the build-up of moisture and heat which is common with other masks. This helps you breathe naturally without being uncomfortable. 

Myth 2: Wear a mask only if you’re sick

Simply put, wearing a mask helps decrease the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Research has shown that a lot of people are carriers of the virus and may never exhibit external symptoms of the virus. These people do not know they are transmitting the virus to others when they talk, sneeze, cough or raise their voice. Wearing a mask not only helps protect your loved ones from unknowingly catching the virus but also prevents you from picking up any strains of the virus from others.

Myth 3: Your face mask masks trap the carbon dioxide that we normally breathe out

There has been a lot of misinformation about the correct usage and benefits of masks. Using a mask cannot lead to carbon dioxide poisoning as carbon dioxide molecules are very tiny, even smaller than respiratory droplets. They cannot be trapped by breathable materials like masks. 

In fact, the MEO Air Helix Filter Media is also the world’s most breathable filter. It traps the smallest of particles and bacteria ensuring it takes less energy to draw air through the filter and allows people to breathe purified air easily.

Myth 4: Babies should wear face masks.

According to Dr. Ling Chan, a New Zealand based pathologist, “Anyone who can’t take the mask off or put it on by themselves should not be masked”. Quoted in an article in Stuff, Dr. Lang said that children over the age of 10 have exhibited the same COVID-19 transmission rates as adults. So, it was important for kids to wear masks in confined indoor spaces and outdoors to avoid the spread by community transmission. However, babies aged under 2 should never be masked due to the risk of suffocation. 

Our MEO kids range are designed keeping the little people in mind. With four fun designs, MEO Kids face masks fabric is selected with utmost care. These face masks are comfortable, safe and fun to wear – even for the most enthusiastic child.

There is power and safety in knowledge. It is best to gain information from the right sources and err on the side of caution when it comes to the health of you and your family.

How does MEO stand out in a crowded market today?



MEO Air face masks were created with an aim to contribute towards a healthier world. Our vision is to disrupt the face mask industry with the best anti-pollution face mask. We want to create a practical yet fashionable face mask for the global consumer. 

Ultimately, our goal is to give access to clean, breathable air to everyone. At the same time, we also want our consumer to trust in us to provide them with products that help them breathe freely and with comfort.

And that’s where being a New Zealand brand helps us stand out from the crowd.



New Zealand has a reputation for being the land of purity and cleanliness. When you hear New Zealand, you immediately think of healthy living and clean air. So, it is with no surprise that we took inspiration from New Zealand to create MEO face masks for adults and children.

In a crowded and sometimes potentially unregulated market, we want to be able to give people a reassurance of quality and authenticity of our products. Receiving the New Zealand FernMark has offered us the positioning of a premium alternative to competing products, that provides greater functionality and protection from airborne pollution.



Our MEO Air face masks carry the FernMark, a trademark officially recognised and endorsed by the New Zealand Government – a mark of trust that communicates a product’s country of origin and connection to New Zealand. 

Any business that applies for FernMask has to meet the eligibility criteria and submit a schedule of products they want to licence. All applications are audited by the NZ Story Group to ensure each licensed product is ‘born of New Zealand’. 

New Zealand environmental contributions like bred-for-purpose Wanaka wool, scientifically verified wool-based filter, and offering a fashionable yet technically superior product, have made New Zealand an intrinsic part of MEO Air’s brand story. This has helped us proudly represent the country’s brand on a global scale, with an official FernMark.

We believe that the world’s best products are ones which change lives for the better. This is the inspiration behind MEO Air face mask which gives users genuine protection against the harmful effects of air pollution. New Zealand was a natural place to create it.

Taking the guesswork out of filters – How does our MEO HELIX filter work?


Weather, like life, can sometimes be very unpredictable and uncertain. Just ask 1 News reporter Carolyn Robinson who went in search of good, sunny news for this year’s summer in New Zealand, but was instead greeted with predictions of a rainy and cloudy one. Donned in her MEO lite face mask, Carolyn tried to shoo away her blues with an ice-cream, only to realise that the mask was still on (something, we are all very guilty of!).

Too many things in life are unpredictable and left up to chance, and that’s why we at MEO Air  believe in providing certainty and surety with our products. Our face masks and filters are created from years of research and developments in science. A merger between technology and modern design is a natural thing for us, which in turn allows us to create beautiful yet practical products that resonate with today’s consumer.

So, how do we take the guesswork out of our products?

Our MEO lite face masks are reusable face masks that offer a superior filtration system – the Helix™ Filter Media. Designed using New Zealand’s best qualities, the Helix™ Filter Media embraces the purity, authenticity and innovation that define MEO Air. Backed by research, nature and breathable elements, the Helix™ Filter Media is the world’s most breathable, and here’s how we know it.


  1. Our filter takes inspiration from nature


It is said that art imitates nature as well as it can and this certainly rings true for us at MEO Air. We have taken a leaf out of nature’s book and designed our face masks with Helix™ Filter Media that have been developed by observing the natural world. 


Derived from the alpha helical molecule found in wool fibre, the Helix™ Filter Media uses elements of this molecule in its filtration material that, in the natural world protects sheep from harsh environments, but in the human world allows us to breathe clean and fresh air.


  1. Uses a natural air filter – Wool


It is well known that wool carpets permanently remove gaseous pollutants from the air. Wool is a natural air filter that is resistant to fire, bacteria and manages moisture well. 


This along with its charged electrostatic fibre which efficiently captures micron-sized airborne particles, makes it the perfect filter for an anti-pollution face mask. 


  1. Scientifically proven with years of research


The Helix™ Filter media used in the MEO face masks are made with scientifically selected New Zealand sheep wool.


Specifically bred for creation of high quality and high performing wool, these sheep are bred on a farm in Wanaka, New Zealand and have been proven to outperform synthetic materials. 


Extensive research and careful design has gone behind the creation of MEO air filtration masks that allow you to breathe with ease.


  1. Creates breathable masks


The Helix™ Filter Media is also the world’s most breathable filter. It traps the smallest of particles and bacteria ensuring it takes less energy to draw air through the filter and allows people to breathe purified air. 


MEO face masks’ distinctive shape which can be moulded to any face also reduces the build-up of moisture and heat which is common with other masks.


Established with a vision to create an anti-pollution face mask which provides superior filtration, MEO products will always have an element of predictable, unlike the weather because when it comes to your health, we want you to always be sure and trust in MEO Air.

5 reasons MEO makes the best face masks in town.

MEO Air was launched in 2017 with an idea to disrupt the face mask industry with the best anti-pollution face mask. The MEO vision was to create a practical yet fashionable face mask for the global consumer.

And then, life as we knew it changed in March 2020. Countries went into lockdown and reformed our way of living. Humans who are social beings were asked to live quite unsocially – keeping two meters apart and wearing masks. Governments recommended its citizens to use masks to protect themselves against COVID-19 and the world opened itself up to this new form of style and protection.


MEO Air’s customer base changed from Asian and South-East Asian countries to a global market. We were inundated with orders and our director, Kenneth Leong was featured in the New Zealand’s National Business Review with a comment that said, MEO received “thousands of orders in the first few hours after the second New Zealand lockdown announcement”.


So, how did a New Zealand company that is ahead of its time, develop a product that is now shipped globally and has over 11,000 followers on Instagram? What makes MEO masks so special – let us break it down for you and share some key differentiators of a MEO face mask:


  1. Innovation in the air you breathe


To put it simply, MEO lite face mask offers you a reusable face mask with a filter. Our superior filtration, the Helix™ filter made from New Zealand sheep wool, naturally inhibits the growth of bacteria and removes noxious gases. It is efficient in capturing 99.80% PM 0.1 particles and filtering out more than 99.99% of airborne bacteria.


Using innovation to bring the best to the world, our Helix™ Filter Media is the world’s most breathable filter, allowing you to receive a steady stream of purified air.


  1. Mask it up in Style


With MEO face masks, you do not have to compromise on style or looks. The masks are designed keeping in mind today’s fashionable and demanding consumer. Elegance personified, MEO face masks are simple, easy to put on and comfortable to wear. 


The masks offer you unrivalled level of protection due to the proprietary blend of cotton and spandex – so that’s comfort and durability combined. 


The masks are created with extensive research and careful design that follow the shape of your face. They can be moulded to fit every face with comfort, as its distinctive shape and features reduce the build-up of moisture and heat which is common with other masks.


  1. We are backed by science and research


Our Helix™ filters are made with scientifically selected New Zealand sheep wool. The masks are created with bred-for-purpose sheep in Wanaka, New Zealand. This breed of sheep produces a superior type of wool which improves filtration, is natural, comfortable and soft. 


  1. A mask to suit your lifestyle


Merging technology and fashion, MEO face masks are designed to feel like they are a part of your clothing, an accessory to your everyday life. 


With a versatile product range to choose from, MEO Air products are available in mixed colours and sizes. The new range has been developed keeping in mind the stylish consumer, with elements of peppermint oil scent and essence of natural Manuka giving it a sophisticated touch. A market favourite, MEO Air has been recommended by various news outlets like Viva, Urban list and Denizen.


  1. Designed for the little people


Our MEO kids range are designed keeping the little people in mind. With four fun designs, MEO Kids face masks fabric is selected with utmost care. These face masks are comfortable, safe and fun to wear – even for the most enthusiastic child.


Originating in land synonymous with purity, MEO Air combines elements of New Zealand’s nature, technology and innovation. MEO Air journey may have started with the aim to produce the world’s best anti-pollution face mask, but our goal remains the same as always – contributing towards a healthier world.

Fashionable face masks: ‘Trying to make something horrific seem appealing’

–Written by the Guardian newspaper

Manufacturer Meo and New Zealand fashion designer Karen Walker collaborated on these reusable face masks with air filters. The interchangeable covers can be matched to the wearer’s outfit.

As Australia’s air quality plummets, demand has spiked for reusable anti-pollution masks that are effective and fashionable

Sydneysiders Elias Honor, his brother Isaac and their childhood friend Jack Graham had a vision of selling Australia’s air to the world.

The company they founded, AusAir, have made high-end anti-pollution face masks featuring filters infused with Australian botanicals such as eucalyptus and Tasmanian lavender. In shades of shell pink, black and grey, AusAir’s masks have a soft yet utilitarian aesthetic – like something you might find on the Starship Enterprise.

After winning a series of student entrepreneurship awards, the trio’s masks are set to go on sale for the first time this month. But rather than being a pristine fantasy for those in polluted metropolises overseas to inhale, Australia may become an important market for the fledgling company.

A model wears an anti-pollution face mask prototype from AusAir. Photograph: AusAir

A model wears an anti-pollution face mask prototype from Aus Air.
A model wears an anti-pollution face mask prototype from AusAir. Photograph: AusAir
As unprecedented bushfires continue to rage across Australia’s eastern and southern coasts, towns and cities across the country have recorded multiday stretches of hazardous air quality.

Will wearing a face mask protect me from bushfire smoke? – explainer
Read more
Across the eastern and southern coasts of Australia, bushfire smoke has shut down businesses and major events and led doctors to warn of lasting health consequences.

Hardware chain Bunnings has air-freighted in hundreds of thousands of face masks and respirators from international suppliers in order to keep up with demand. While many consumers are visiting their local hardware stores in order to acquire PM2.5 filtering face masks, others are looking online for a more comfortable, longer-wearing and stylish solution.

As air quality worsens, premium reusable face masks are a growing accessory category worldwide. In China and India, lifestyle bloggers review them as they would a new nail polish shade or handbag.

In Sydney, Scott Mitchell was an early adopter. He purchased an anti-pollution face mask online on 3 December. “My friends would tell you that I am very quick to … jump on a fad,” he says. “The idea of buying a mask appealed to me because it seemed very dumb at the time.”

Mitchell took strange pleasure in researching his purchase. “It’s quite funny to get into the very small world of fashion face masks because the websites are trying to make something that is horrific seem quite appealing … There is a certain Blade Runner-y feeling of embracing our fashionable dystopia that I enjoyed.”

Eventually he settled on a respirator from Cambridge Mask Co. At A$48 plus shipping, the mask is lower cost than many other designer masks. Mitchell found the brand’s extensive range of colours and prints appealing too, although his first choice – a shade of deep teal – was sold out.

Models adjust colourful masks from Cambridge Mask Co.

Cambridge Mask Co’s chief operating officer Nina Griffee explains that the range of colours isn’t about creating a product that’s “fashionable”. She says fine particle-filtering face masks can look quite militaristic but “by adding colour you can convince a five-year-old to wear a mask.” The masks were originally developed for residents of highly polluted cities, where “you don’t have one mask you have three or four,” says Griffee. When wearing a face mask is commonplace “it’s nice if it matches your coat”.

As the days of poor air quality stretched on across swathes of eastern and southern Australia, what started as almost a joke became “really handy and helpful” for Mitchell. Those who’d mocked him started to see sense in his decision. People even asked him for advice on social media, where he’d shared photographs of himself wearing the mask.

‘I look like a ninja’
Around the time Mitchell was making his purchase, Katherine Brickman, who also lives in Sydney, was suffering from “a smoker’s cough that turned into a respiratory infection” and realised “I needed some way of commuting to work without getting sick”.

Brickman consulted with a co-worker – “a real fashion kid” – who was already wearing a mask, and then researched the health recommendations that had come out during the California wildfires of 2018. She decided there was “no point in wearing one that’s not comfortable”, and eventually bought a mask from Swedish company Airinum. She describes their website as “the Apple store of face masks”, and says she found their extensive fit information and video tutorials particularly persuasive.

Airinum masks start at US$69. Brickman says “the one I got was slightly pricey, but I felt I could justify that cost because I can wash it and reuse it”.

–Written by the Guardian newspaper

More than 90% of the world’s children breathe toxic air every day

Every day around 93% of the world’s children under the age of 15 years (1.8 billion children) breathe air that is so polluted it puts their health and development at serious risk. Tragically, many of them die: WHO estimates that in 2016, 600,000 children died from acute lower respiratory infections caused by polluted air.

A new WHO report on Air pollution and child health: Prescribing clean air examines the heavy toll of both ambient (outside) and household air pollution on the health of the world’s children, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. The report is being launched on the eve of WHO’s first ever Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health. 

It reveals that when pregnant women are exposed to polluted air, they are more likely to give birth prematurely, and have small, low birth-weight children. Air pollution also impacts neurodevelopment and cognitive ability and can trigger asthma, and childhood cancer. Children who have been exposed to high levels of air pollution may be at greater risk for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease later in life.

“Polluted air is poisoning millions of children and ruining their lives,” says Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “This is inexcusable. Every child should be able to breathe clean air so they can grow and fulfil their full potential.”

One reason why children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of air pollution is that they breathe more rapidly than adults and so absorb more pollutants.  

They also live closer to the ground, where some pollutants reach peak concentrations – at a time when their brains and bodies are still developing.

Newborns and young children are also more susceptible to household air pollution in homes that regularly use polluting fuels and technologies for cooking, heating and lighting 

“Air Pollution is stunting our children’s brains, affecting their health in more ways than we suspected. But there are many straight-forward ways to reduce emissions of dangerous pollutants,” says Dr Maria Neira, Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO.

“WHO is supporting implementation of health-wise policy measures like accelerating the switch to clean cooking and heating fuels and technologies, promoting the use of cleaner transport, energy-efficient housing and urban planning. We are preparing the ground for low emission power generation, cleaner, safer industrial technologies and better municipal waste management, ” she added.

Key findings:

  • Air pollution affects neurodevelopment, leading to lower cognitive test outcomes, negatively affecting mental and motor development.
  • Air pollution is damaging children’s lung function, even at lower levels of exposures
  • Globally, 93% of the world’s children under 15 years of age are exposed to ambient fine particulate matter (PM2.5) levels above WHO air quality guidelines, which include the 630 million of children under 5 years of age, and 1.8 billion of children under 15 years
  • In low- and middle-income countries around the world, 98% of all children under 5 are exposed to PM2.5 levels above WHO air quality guidelines. In comparison, in high-income countries, 52% of children under 5 are exposed to levels above WHO air quality guidelines.
  • More than 40% of the world’s population – which includes 1 billion children under 15 –  is exposed to high levels of household air pollution from mainly cooking with polluting technologies and fuels.
  • About 600’000 deaths in children under 15 years of age were attributed to the joint effects of ambient and household air pollution in 2016.
  • Together, household air pollution from cooking and ambient (outside) air pollution cause more than 50% of acute lower respiratory infections in children under 5 years of age in low- and middle-income countries.
  • Air pollution is one of the leading threats to child health, accounting for almost 1 in 10 deaths in children under five years of age.

WHO’s First Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health, which opens in Geneva on Tuesday 30 October will provide the opportunity for world leaders; ministers of health, energy, and environment; mayors; heads of intergovernmental organizations; scientists and others to commit to act against this serious health threat, which shortens the lives of around 7 million people each year. Actions should include:

  • Action by the health sector to inform, educate, provide resources to health professionals, and engage in inter-sectoral policy making.
  • Implementation of policies to reduce air pollution: All countries should work towards  meeting WHO global air quality guidelines to enhance the health and safety of children. To achieve this, governments should adopt such measures as reducing the over-dependence on fossil fuels in the global energy mix, investing in improvements in energy efficiency and facilitating the uptake of renewable energy sources. Better waste management can reduce the amount of waste that is burned within communities and thereby reducing ‘community air pollution’. The exclusive use of clean technologies and fuels for household cooking, heating and lighting activities can drastically improve the air quality within homes and in the surrounding community.
  • Steps to minimize children’s exposure to polluted air: Schools and playgrounds should be located away from major sources of air pollution like busy roads, factories and power plants.

Full report

BreatheLife air pollution campaign:  BreatheLife is a partnership of WHO, UN Environment and the Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants that aims to increase awareness and action on air pollution by governments and individuals. www.breathelife2030.org

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