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Ethical values need to be considered as part of any decision-making process to assess the suitability of a public health intervention. In this paper, the authors use principles from public health ethics to analyse the critical ethical issues that relate to agencies providing advice on, recommending and/or distributing facemasks in air pollution disasters. This is important given a lack of evidence on both the specific risk of some polluting events or the effectiveness of facemasks in community settings.

This paper develops an ethical decision-making framework to assist agency deliberations.  Clarity around decision-making by agencies, after using this framework, may help increase trust about the intervention and solidarity within and between populations affected by these disasters and the agencies who support public health or provide assistance during disasters.

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