Increasing pollution levels of the cities are making fresh air a thing of past. A number of sources are responsible for this rise in air pollution, these sources are both, by humans or nature. Big cities suffer the most because of the high emission of pollutants by industries, vehicles and other sources.
Day-by-day the quality of breathing air is going very low due to the high level of pollutants dissolved in it. The breathing air is now a concoction of dust, fine particulate matter, chemicals and ground-level ozone.
The combustion of a fuel produces fine particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5), that are responsible for a number of acute or chronic illnesses related to respiratory, immune, and cardiovascular systems.
No wonder there’s a rise in the cases of lung cancer deaths, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, stroke and heart disease by longtime exposure to PM 10 to PM 2.5. It’s important to safeguard ourselves from pollution and its damaging effects.
The immediate protection can be offered by the use of a pollution mask. Though it’s required to take measures to control the pollution level but to deal with the already existing pollution, masks are the safest and best option available right now.
Specifications of Pollution Masks
A lot of masks are available in the market but not all offer the same level of protection. These masks are labelled so it’s easy to determine their effectiveness in any given environment.
N-95 and N-99 labelled masks provide the best protection against most non-oil based fine particulate matter. N-95 means that the mask is able to filter 95% of PM 2.5 and N-99 means that up to 99% PM 2.5 will get filtered by the mask.
These masks are not able to provide protection if the air contains oil-based PM 2.5 as in the industrial areas. For areas like this, you will need to use the counterparts of N-95 masks, that are P-95 and R-95.
Both P-95 and R-95 can provide effective protection in the presence of a high concentration of PM 2.5. The masks labelled P and R are more expensive than their N counterparts. Additionally, these need to be replaced frequently, after every 40 hours usage.
Usage of Pollution Masks
It’s very important to note that the surgical masks are not able to provide any effective protection against pollution. Hence surgical masks are not advised to be used as a layer of protection against the pollution.
Both disposable and reusable masks can be used as pollution masks. You should take care in storing the reusable masks so that they remain in usable condition. Improper storage might lead to breaking of these masks.
These masks should fit properly on the wearer’s face or else will be ineffective in providing any safety. As the polluted air will leak inside the mask if not sealed properly.
Dust Masks that can be Effectively used as the Pollution Mask
A wide range of dust masks and respirators are available that can be used effectively for the safety of the wearer against the hazardous effects of the pollutants. In some areas, the quality of air is extremely poor. Here’s a list of the best pollution masks available in the market-
FFP3 masks are available in both disposable and reusable forms and are available as half-face and full-face masks. These masks come with P3 respirator filters that effectively safeguard against dangerous particulates and radioactive contamination. So, these masks will work as a very effective pollution mask.
They are equipped with low breathing resistance filter technology and are designed to fit a wide range of face sizes and shapes.
Air Fed Mask
In an air fed mask a battery powered fan is used to provide clean air to the wearer. This inhibits contaminated particles to pass through the filter. Thus, providing maximum protection against dust, dirt, and harmful particulates. These masks are deemed fit to use as a pollution mask.
A range of 3M masks are available and they are able to give you high levels of protection against dust, mist, dangerous metal fumes. All 3M products are high-quality, very comfortable and light-weight. The high filtration provided by these masks protects the wearers from harmful pollutants.
3M masks are maintenance free, economical and easy to use and offer low breathing resistance.
The above-mentioned masks are extremely effective as a pollution mask and can be used to safeguard you from the damaging air pollutants. The harsh truth is that in most parts of the world, especially in major cities the quality of air is not breathable.
Air pollution is increasing and so is the health issues caused by it. Pollution masks are the only barrier between you and the harmful pollutants mixed in the breathing air. So, it’s important to use these masks when living near a heavily polluted industrial area.