With the recent eruption of the Volcano and the awareness of all the people regarding air pollution, people have been more aware and have been advised to wear a mask, making it a necessity and a staple good in each household. However, most people do not know that there are proper masks to wear in certain types of environments. With the influx of different types, sizes, and shapes of masks available at the market that claim different things, it surely is confusing which one to choose.
Here we’ll discuss what to consider and recommend masks that will keep you safe from air pollution. Read on to find out what they are!
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How to Choose an Air Pollution Mask – Buying Guide
To keep you safe from air pollution, get a mask that has a filter rating, fits your face pefectly that does not leave any gap for harmful airborn particles to enter.
Select a Mask Rating with at Least N95 Filter Rating
The N95 mask is one of the three types of filters available for respiratory masks. The three types are namely “N” which means that it is not resistant to oil and it could only filter out solid and water-based particulates, “R” somewhat resistant to oil, and “P”strongly resistant to oil.
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) evaluates, tests, and approves these filter ratings to guarantee safety and level of performance of masks.
What Does the Number “95” Mean?
There are basically three number labels – 95, 99, and 100. These numbers refer to the efficiency of the filter. For example, 95 means that the mask is able to filter 95% of very small test particles (at least 0.3 microns) in the air. So the higher the number, the higher the filter efficiency it has.
Do note, however, that the price point may be more expensive for the higher filter efficiency.
Be on the Look for a Respirator
A respirator is a tight-fitting mask that forms a tight seal on the skin so that it leaves no space or gaps for the airborne particles to infiltrate the nose or the mouth.
A face mask or a surgical mask, on the other hand, is loose-fitting and it does not form a seal around the nose and mouth. Surgical masks provide a physical barrier that blocks large-particle droplets or splashes from reaching the nose and the mouth.
Surgical masks are not really recommended since it is loosely fitted, and small particles may be infiltrated and transmitted, not providing full protection.
Choose One That Fits Your Face Perfectly
No matter how high quality your mask is, if it does not fit you correctly then it is of no help at all. A mask that’s too small for your face may give you breathing difficulties. For a mask that’s too large, there is a high chance of particles to infiltrate the spaces or gaps around the mask, enabling you to inhale it.
The packaging usually indicates the size of the mask. Medium is generally a size that fits all but if you think that your have a smaller or larger face, do choose what you think would be appropriate for your face. If you are unsure of your size, it is always helpful and reliable to read the product’s sizing guide and not buy masks in bulk so that in case you get the wrong size, it wouldn’t be a waste.
Some brands also offer just one standard size but have adjustable straps. Make sure that you read fitting instructions or watch available instructable videos online so that you know how to get the correct fit of the mask.
Do note that people who has a beard may not get full protection from a mask because a proper fit would not be achieved.
Select a Mask with Valves to Use in Rigorous Activities or if You Wear Eyeglasses
For comfortability, a mask with valve is recommended when doing physical activities and rigorous exercises for air to flow faster and for moisture to not accumulate inside the mask. However, if you are just doing simple and light acitivities, a valve is not necessary.
Masks with valve are also recommended to those who are wearing eyeglasses to avoid misting of the eyeglasses.
Reusable Masks for Convenience and Cost-Effectiveness
A high-quality reusable mask lessens the task of buying a new mask every now and then and it helps the environment as well. It is cost-effective and longer-lasting compared to disposable masks.
However, make sure that you follow proper care and maintenance, and also read the product description so you know when to toss it.
Top 8 Best Popular Air Pollution Masks Online
Scroll down below to find out the best masks to combat air pollution!
1. Disposable Respirator 8822 P2
Lightweight Twin-Strap Mask with Exhale Valve for Cooler Airflow an Drier Wear
With an N95 rating, this mask provides protection against dust, mist, smoke, and fumes while being lightweight. For custom fit and adjustability, it has twin-straps and nose clip that could be molded according to the user’s nose size and shape.
Just like other masks from this brand, reviewers say that it does its job, but some experience trouble with the straps that tend to snap off easily.
2. 2310 N99 Premium Particulate Respirator With Exhale Valve
A Mask That Could Withstand Hot and Humid Conditions
This mask offers a high-level of protection and it features a dura-mesh shell that protects the filter and makes it clean-looking, prevents the main shell from collapsing, retaining its shape even in humid conditions.
One downside of this mask is that it has a pre-molded nose piece, so depending on the shape and size of your nose, you may not get the right fit.
3. VFlex™ Particulate Respirator 9105
Lightweight Non-Bulky Mask with V-Shaped Pleats for Space and Comfort
Compared to other N95 masks that are cup-shaped, this mask provides higher comfortability through its foldable design but does not compromise quality and efficiency.
This mask is also characterized by its pleats that flexes with the movement of the mouth for ease of talking and it also expands for ease of breathing.
4. Pro N99 Filtered Face Mask
A Reusable N99 Mask Where Fashion Meets Comfort and Protection
Unlike common masks, Cambridge Mask Co offers masks that have different designs that the users can choose from. It uses a military-grade filter technology that offers a 99% filtration of particulate matters.
This mask features an adjustable nose clip and straps to ensure fit and it also has a valve for ease of breathing. The valve stays closed when the user inhales and it opens when the user exhales.
Reviewers say that this mask is very easy to maintain and the valve makes the inside of the mask relatively cool. One point that the reviewers mentioned is that the straps of this mask are quite thick so if you wear glasses it may not be comfortable.
5. Particulate Respirator 8210
Tried and Trusted N95 Mask that Uses Electrostatic Media
A standard-sized mask that uses advanced electrostatic media, an “advanced electrostatically charged microfibers which make breathing easier and cooler”.
This mask uses a two-strap design, nose foam cushion, and adjustable nose clipto provide a secure and custom fit. As long as this mask is not damaged or soiled, it may be used.
This series, however, only offers a standard size so some reviewers say that it may be difficult to actually get a perfect fit. The rubber bands may feel uncomfortable and leave marks on the face.
A Reusable N99 Mask with Different Designs to Choose From
The Vogmask is a reusable mask that not only combats pollution but also allergies as well. Its filter media include carbon which protects users from airborne particulates and also odor.
It is recommended to change this mask every 5-6 months, depending on the type of environment. It is also easily maintained just by handwashing with soap and water.
One reviewer of this mask who suffers from allergies said that after switching from a surgical mask to Vogmask, he noticed a huge difference after a few weeks.
7. 3M 9501VT
An N95 Mask with a Soft Lining and Single Valve for Comfort
Unlike most respirators from this brand, this mask series offers an earloop strap design that makes it easier to wear. It also has a soft face lining, an aerodynamic valve for increased breathing comfortability and an adjustable aluminum nose clip for an easy and secure face fit.
Reviewers like that this mask is foldable which allows them to easily carry and store it.
Do Surgical Masks, Cloth Masks or DIY Masks Work?
Surgical masks, when worn, do not provide a tight-fit, leaving gaps that may cause infiltration of different particles. So this being said, you only get minimal protection from surgical masks.
With the recent shortage of respirator masks available in the market, the production of cloth masks and DIY masks has increased. Cloth and DIY masks only have minimal protection, the same way but in a lesser performance and effectivity surgical masks provide.
Surgical masks are better used when you are sick or you are in contact with a sick person to prevent infection and limit the spread of germs.
In essence, it is not recommended to use surgical masks, cloth masks, or DIY maks as a means of protection for air pollution.
The air that we breathe directly affects our body’s wellness so it is of high importance that the air we breathe is clean and not contaminated by harmful particles. Now that you know the main points to consider when buying a mask to protect yourself from air pollution, we hope that you will be able to breathe easily and deeply and enabling yourself room for relaxation.