The recent pandemic involving the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) has virtually everyone scrambling to find a face mask, any type of face mask. However, all masks are not the same in terms of quality, protection, and price. For some, it can be tempting to buy a huge pack of disposable, surgical-grade face masks and be done with it. But, if you are going to spend money protecting yourself and your loved ones, then you should invest in a high quality product. The uncertainty surrounding the novel coronavirus is enough to drive anyone insane, but panic buying is not the answer. Although some people just recently started researching air filter masks because of coronavirus, these masks have been selling for years.
Some people know a lot about face masks because they have allergies, asthma, auto-immune diseases, or they are on a transplant list. Other folks live in a place that has bad air quality, or they dabble in crafts using harsh chemicals. The air filter masks people choose for protection is highly important, and changes with the environment. This article will present several reasons why air filter masks should be at the top of your list of protective gear.
What to Look for in an Air Filtration Mask?So, it has already been established that all air filtration masks are not the same. What does that mean exactly? It means you can pay a lot of money for an air filter mask and be unprotected against viruses. It also means you can buy a less expensive face mask and still be unprotected against germs but end up with a rash – it happens. Most people want their mask to be comfortable, reasonably priced, but also have the highest filtering ability in a mask. Let’s analyze what you should look for when searching for protection against harsh fumes, viruses like COVID-19, dust mites, and more.
- Filtering: The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is a part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NIOSH sets the standards for masks and respirators placing each type in a category based on their level of protection. A respirator is simply a mask with an airtight seal around it. NIOSH assigns a letter/number to air filtration masks which indicates the type of particulates the mask will block. The most important concept to remember surrounding the letter of a mask is “oil”. “N” means not resistant to oil-based particulates, while “R” means somewhat resistant to oil particulates, and “P” means strongly resistant to oil particulates, basically oil proof. For example, the SARS virus is encased in a shell of lipids, which means it has fat and oil around the virus. The number on the mask indicates the percentage of particulates, that will be filtered out of the mask if worn properly. 95 indicates that the mask will filter out 95% of particulates, 99 means 99% of particulates will be filtered out, and the number 100 means that the mask protects 100% against particulates.
- Exhalation Valves: An exhalation valve removes moisture, heat, and carbon dioxide from the mask. Some air filtration masks have one small, round, black valve that gets rid of the heat and moisture from the mask. Other air filtration masks may have two of those valves which removes carbon dioxide in addition to moisture and heat. Some people are comfortable without having any exhalation valves and buy a mask without one.
- Unexplained Illness: If you have trouble breathing or shortness of breath for no reason, especially if it only happens when you are indoors, then your IAQ may be on the low side.
- Material: The type of material is important because some air filtration masks can be like headphones. Some headphones may feel fine at first, but after an extended time, a person’s ears may start to hurt and sweat. Masks are similar because the material may not seem that important, but some material can irritate the skin after a few hours. Organic cotton and microfiber are both great for providing an air-tight seal but does not irritate the skin. The elastic that loops around the ears should be adjustable so that there is no pulling, or tightness around the ears. As an example, eThentic masks have adjustable ear loops.
- Style: Air filtration masks do not have to be plain like a disposable, surgical-grade mask. Masks can be stylish and trendy, in terms of color and print on the material. The “look” of the air filtration mask may even make some people feel better. For example, a child who suffers from a chronic illness may be uplifted if their mask is their favorite color, or if it has their favorite animal on it.
What is so special about ethentic Air Filtration Masks?ethentic air filtration masks have extraordinary features that place them in a category above all others in the industry. These masks block 95% of PM2.5 particles, which is what is needed during a pandemic, like COVID-19. Particulate matter (PM) is classified based on the size of the particle diameter. PM that permeates gas and fills the lungs are called respirable particles. Respirable particles in the range of 2.5 microns are referred to as PM2.5 and considered hazardous. This means that the masks are not resistant to oil particulates but will filter out 95% of particulates. So, let’s go through the checklist:
- The masks protect from airborne particles with the measures of PM 0.3, PM 2.5, PM 10, dust mites, allergens, germs, shavings, odors, mold, mold spores, particles in wildfire smoke, volcanic particulate pollution, and other airborne contaminants.
- Filters can be removed and replaced depending on how often you use the mask.
- Ear straps are adjustable and do not place unwanted pressure on the ears, chin, or nose.
- The material is sturdy, breathable, and great for all skin types.
These types of air filtration masks are worn like fashion accessories for many who live around the globe. Some people live in cities where the air quality is low due to forest fires, or industrialization and wear these masks regularly. The assortment of colors, patterns, and themes make these respirators inclusive of all genders, and age groups. Although the recent pandemic has heightened awareness about cold and virus protection, these masks have been around for a while. Some groups of people must think critically about air quality, germs, allergens, and air filtration masks more than others.
Those who suffer from autoimmune diseases, pulmonary diseases, or have survived cancer speak highly about the effectiveness of these masks. According to the American Lung Association, “more than four in 10 Americans, approximately 43.3 percent of the population, live in counties that have monitored unhealthy ozone and/or particle pollution”. Some areas are more prone to wildfires than others, which means areas near those wildfires may experience a decline in air quality. “The number of people exposed to unhealthy air increased to nearly 141.1 million”. The reasons as to why different groups of people would benefit from wearing an air filtration mask are endless. It is hard to produce a legitimate argument that would negate all of the positives. These high-quality air filtration masks have:
- adjustable ear straps
- replaceable air filters
- microfiber material
- exhalation valves
- a wide assortment of colors and prints
- N95 for 2.5PM
- great pricing