How Do Masks Offer Protection Against Air Pollution?

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are mask good for pollution

From smog hanging over cities to smoke inside the home, air pollution poses a serious threat to human health and climate. The pollution levels have been rising at an alarming rate, and the air quality is deteriorating day by day. Air pollution is considered to be the world’s largest threat to environmental health. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), air pollution is responsible for 7 million deaths worldwide every year. Air pollution is responsible for giving rise to several health problems, ranging from asthma to cancer, pulmonary illnesses, and heart disease. 

Air pollution is also responsible for causing various health problems for people in India. With the quality of air getting bad, it demands immediate action to protect ourselves from its consequences. It is significantly worse in some cities where people have resorted to wearing an air pollution mask throughout the year. 

What is Air Pollution Mask?

An air pollution mask protects you against the harmful air pollutants present in the air. The masks filter out pollutants when you breathe through them. A good quality air pollution mask is capable enough to remove small pollutants, including PM 2.5. They offer protection against outdoor air and can also be used inside when indoor purification methods have not been adopted. A good example of air pollution masks is Airific 2.0 by Nirvana Being. 

Types of Air Pollution Masks

Air pollution mask varies in effectiveness and cost according to the type of pollutant and its purpose. The three types of masks commonly used by people are-

  • N95 air pollution mask

N95 is a basic air pollution mask that filters out 95% of the air pollutants. It is capable of filtering out particle pollutants and other oil-based pollutants. 

  • N99 and N100 air pollution mask

These air masks can filter out particles like PM2.5 with 99% and 99.7% efficiency. They cannot filter oil-based air pollutants. 

  • P95 and R95 air pollution mask

P-rated air masks are resistant to oil-based contaminants, while R-rated masks are not. These masks are meant for industrial purposes. 

Working of an Air Pollution Mask

Air pollution masks have different layers of filters, and each layer is designed for a specific air pollutant. Primarily there are three different layers in an air pollution mask-

  • Primary Filter

With the help of a primary filter, large particles like dust and pollen can be easily filtered. It can also remove particle pollutants like PM10. 

  • Particle Filter

Particle filter provides protection against smaller pollutants like PM.2. Particle pollutants that are not removed by the primary filter are filtered here. For an air pollution mask to work efficiently, it should have both the primary as well as a particle filter. 

  • Carbon Filter

An activated carbon filter is common in high-end air pollution masks and is extremely efficient in removing gaseous pollutants that other filters cannot remove. A carbon filter can also filter out bacteria and viruses present in the air.  

With different types of air pollution masks available, we have curated a list highlighting the facts that will tell you how masks can offer protection against pollution-

  • Preventing Long-Term Effects of Air Pollution on Body

Today, the air we breathe has become poisonous due to an increase in pollution levels. Prolonged exposure to air pollutants can expose your body to various respiratory problems, including asthma. An air pollution mask restricts air pollution inhalation, which is responsible for causing airborne allergies and other lung diseases. 

  • Increases Lung Capacity

Inhalation of pure air leads to higher lung capacity and makes breathing easy. This, in turn, strengthens the respiratory muscles and increases oxygen intake. 

  • Protection Against Various Bacteria and Fungus

Air pollution masks with activated carbon filters protect us against bacteria and fungus. It also provides protection against various airborne allergies. 

Air Pollution Mask is the Need of an Hour

As we have become aware in the last few months, wearing an air pollution mask reduces health risks. Products like Airific 2.0 certified by Nelson Labs, USA, can protect you against numerous pollutants in the environment. Their unique nano-technology limits the exposure to harmful airborne particles efficiently. If you reside in a polluted city, an air pollution mask is a valuable product that can be used irrespective of a health crisis.

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