In the last few decades, air pollution has become one of the prominent global problems. All major cities of India have been dealing with the problem of severe level of pollution which dramatically increased the importance of using face masks. It has been reported by Greenpeace India that in 2017, one in eight deaths were attributable to air pollution.
It would not be wrong to claim that the face mask has become part of our "new normal", rather than being a part of the pollution, you can be a part of the solution. There are different brands of air pollution masks available in the market. In this article, we have covered some points to help you choose an air pollution mask.
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Table of Contents
There are various kinds of masks available on Amazon or Flipkart in India. Because of the minute details like sizes, filters, valves, and more are involved one has to browse a lot before buying which takes longer because most of the time information is scattered but you need not worry, we've got everything you need to know before you invest your money.
Commonly there are three layers of filters in a mask that helps them to react against the different types of air pollutants. The first layer, called the primary filter, can filter large particles like dust and pollen. Pollutants such as PM10 can also be filtered, however, it cannot filter out PM 2.5 pollutants.
The second layer is the particle filter and unlike the primary filter, they can filter out small pollutants like PM 2.5. The third filter is called the carbon filter and it is extremely helpful in removing gaseous pollutants that other filters cannot. It can also filter viruses and bacteria in the air.
If you're staying in areas like Delhi, UP, Mumbai, Gujarat, Jharkhand where the particulate matter is around 2.5 then you can consider having a mask with a carbon filter.
N95, N99, or N100 are some of the common types known to the Indian public but there are a few more like P95 and R95 that are lesser-known. You might be wondering what P, R, N, 95, 99, or 100 means. They have a role to play and function differently.
N, R, and P are certification categories given by NIOSH that protect against respiratory particulates. N means no oil, they cannot filter oil-based pollutants, R means they can filter oil-based pollutants with a continuous shift of 8 hours but needs gap after every shift, and P means they can fully filter the oil-based pollutants and are expensive.
95, 99, and 100 mean that the filter will trap 95%, 99%, and 99.97% out of every 100 particles respectively that are at least 0.3 micrometers. R and P certified masks are not reusable and are mainly for industrial purposes. But for personal use, one can get at least N certified with 95% filter trapping abilities as they are suitable for metropolitan areas.
Getting that perfect fit is very important because a mask will be of no use if the polluted air gets in through the sides. Small size can make the breathing hard and the bigger one will let the particles sneak in through the gaps.
Medium, regular, or standard is the size that can fit most of the people. However, if you're still unsure check for the word "adjustable" as some of the companies give the option of adjustable straps or you can always youtube it. People having bulky or heavy beard can still find it difficult to get that perfect size.
Check out the fabric of the mask before buying, it should be comfortable yet effective. The quality of fabric for the mask is determined by the ability to breathe through them. The material that is suitable for all is cotton or cotton mix as it is soft and breathable. One can go for linen or nylon if they want a thicker version but its hard to breathe through them.
When you exercise, the rate and depth of breathing increases, although one should avoid covering their face for the smooth flow of air. If you're in a polluted area and have a mask on then it is better to have the exhalation valve.
It makes the airflow smooth and prevents moisture inside the mask. However, if you're just keeping up with stretches and simple exercises then its not that important.
Pollution in India is not going to vanish anytime soon, so check out for reusable masks if you think you will be using masks more often, as reusable masks last longer and are cost-effective.
Reusable masks are also better for the environment and some of them come with replaceable filters that trap the pollutants. You will have to change them after a certain number of uses, so check the description of how long they will last.
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Reusable Anti Pollution Mask With N95 Grade Filter
Reusable Mask With Adjustable Ear Loops and Dual Breathing Valves
Ultra Comfortable Anti Pollution Mask
100% Cotton Made Mask with Two Filters
Cambridge N99 Mask
N99 Mask With Carbon Filter and Protects From Bacteria, Virus, and Pollution
KN 95 Mask With Melt Blown Protective Layer
Soft and Comfortable Mask That Is Ergonomically Designed
Reusable Anti Pollution Mask
Economical, Hypoallergenic Mask With Replaceable Filters
Reusable Melt-Blown Non-Woven Fabric Face Mask
A Nylon Based Mask If You Want Quick Drying
Pure & Safe 5 Layered Reusable Washable N95 Face Mask
Decent Looking 5 Layered Mask to Protect You From Germs and Pollution
This is the mask that you're looking for, it has everything that you need. This mask comes with two breathing valves that will help to prevent the moisture inside the mask, earloop adjusters that will ensure the best fit so you don't need to worry about the size.
It is reusable so it can be washed multiple times. It also comes with an easy to carry bag where you can place your mask when you remove it or are not using it.
It is made from cotton so it is very soft and comfortable to wear and it comes with an adjustable nose clip and earloop. It has a breathing valve so the airflow will be very smooth. Also, there are two filters inside the pack so it will extend the life of the mask.
Reviewers are of the view that one filter works for 20-30 days and after that, you can change so on an average it can work for 50 days.
Dettol Cambridge N99 mask filters more than 99% of viruses, bacteria, and pollution with PM 2.5. It has an adjustable nose clip that will you the perfect fit. It has a one-way valve for expelling moisture.
The company claims that it can work up to 3-4 months. This product also has an adjustable earloops. Reviewers are very positive about the efficiency and quality of the mask. People staying in extremely populated areas that have PM 2.5 or less can buy this.
It is very lightweight and has a soft texture making it a comfortable fit for the face. This mask also comes with an adjustable nose clip and ear band and can filter 95% of bacteria, 99% of dust, and airborne particles that are as small as 0.3 microns.
It is ergonomically designed that makes breathing smooth and gives you full face protection. Even after using for long hours, it doesn't give you that irritation, hence suitable for sensitive skin.
This mask is made from 100% cotton fabric that makes it comfortable to wear. The material is very soft and suitable for people with sensitive skin. This product has replaceable filters and the pack comes with 4 filters so one can easily replace them after the expiry.
It is a value for money as it has many features like filters are replaceable, it is soft and comfortable, can filter PM 2.5, suitable for people with sensitive skin, and more. However, some of the users have complained about the functioning of the valve.
Nylon made masks are very effective in blocking small as well as large dust particles. They can easily block 99% of the pollen, fumes, PM 2.5, and other non-oil-based particles.
People wearing glasses can use this mask with confidence as it will not fog up the lenses. Even if you're exercising, this mask can still be comfortable. If you're a frequent user then this mask is for you because they are easily dried. They are not as effetive as cotton based masks because they create difficulty in breathing
Usually, masks are 3 layered but this mask is a 5 layered mask and it can also help you against bad odor and provides fresh air.
Because of its simple texture this mask has a very decent look, so those who are looking for something formal with anti-pollution qualities can go for this one. Although, they are reusable but only for a short period ranging from 8-10 washes. Some users are not satisfied with the elastic, so people with small face size might have some issues here.
So that you can select the most appropriate mask, we have found the application that can measure the quality of air in your area. Based on the quality of the air in your area, you can know the exact requirement which will help you in deciding the perfect mask.
It is free to download and supported by ios and android. This app is manufactured in India and shows you the data from different air quality stations installed across India. It's a very useful app as it tells your air quality exposure and helps you manage it.
Everyone has the right to get clean air but not everyone has access to it, so we've come up with these air purifiers that can help you with indoor air cleaning.
Quality of air has been worsening continuously so we can do our bit by contributing towards the environment, at the same time we should be conscious of our health as well and one of the options is to get an air pollution mask. However, one can always remember that removing pollution is the only solution. Do not confuse these masks for the COVID 19 situation, they have a different purpose to serve.
Author: Nikhil Deora
No. 1: Onroad co. ｜Reusable Anti Pollution Mask With N95 Grade Filter
No. 2: Xtore｜Ultra Comfortable Anti Pollution Mask
No. 3: Dettol｜Cambridge N99 Mask
No. 4: WeCool｜KN 95 Mask With Melt Blown Protective Layer
No. 5: PureMe｜Reusable Anti Pollution Mask
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