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Friday, July 5, 2013

Reusable Filter Masks for The Haze

I decided to make a Haze Kit for each person in the family. So, I ordered 2 different types of face masks and will be shortly taking orders from each person on exactly which one they want. I'm so never gonna be caught unprepared for The Haze again. It happens every year anyway. It has just never been really as bad as this year.

This is the 3M 7501 Half Face Respirator. This model has a Cool Flow Valve(TM) that makes it very easy to breathe without compromising on filtering quality. The ease of breathing is much superior to the N95 mask. This mask is also reusable whilst the N95 needs to be thrown away after just a few hours of use (especially if it gets damp with the wet air you breathe out). There are 3 sizes 7501 (small), 7502 (medium) and 7503 (large). The small size fits me perfectly. I am a very small woman.

The mask is useless without the air filters. You have to buy filters and spare filters. There are compatible filters for every kind of environment (gases, vapors, ozone etc...). I ordered the Advanced Particulate Filter 2291. Compared to its predecessor 2091, this model of particulate filter filters well whilst making it easy to breathe as well. You have to attach the filter's plastic knob to the mask's air vents. These filters last through between 30 to 40 hours of use depending on the level of air pollution.

Here is the assembled mask. This mask configuration provides better protection than N95 because this is classified as P100. It is supposed to filter out 99% of the particles from the air you breathe. Construction workers can wear this mask and still continue to work because it really blocks out a lot of particulate matter AND it is easy to breathe through it. Some of the other compatible filters even block out gases such as ozone. It is important to choose the right filter for the work environment, however. So, if you don't have to block out ammonia or ozone, don't buy those filters.

This is the Totobobo mask. You can purchase a nice Totobobo bag to keep your mask in. The mask is meant to perform at the same levels as the N95 except that this mask is reusable. The filters need to be changed whenever they turn gray with particulate matter OR they are 2 weeks old - whichever is earlier. Unlike the mask above, this mask does not make you look like an alien. However, I find that it is slightly harder work to breathe through this mask, and also, the fit is not as comfortable as the 3M 7501. The best thing about this mask is that it can be cut to fit children's faces. I need to cut it to fit my face, because right now, my glasses fog up when I wear this mask. This shows that the mask doesn't quite fit my small face.

I'm pretty sure the rest of the family will pick the Totobobo mask. Little Boy's reaction to the masks was dramatic. "I am NOT going to wear the Alien Mask to school. EVER!"

My 2 octogenarians were completely oblivious to The Haze. I asked them to sleep with the air conditioner on, and the air purifier at full blast. They slept instead with the windows all opened AND the air purifier at full blast. Both are somewhat deaf so I had to yell some to make sure they understood why they had to keep the windows closed. Even understanding, they didn't agree with me and would open the windows if I wasn't looking. My 2 octogenarians will probably ask me to save money and NOT buy them any masks. Hence, it is highly unlikely that either octogenarian will agree to look like aliens.

I guess I will be the only one left wearing the Alien Mask since I don't really care what I look like as long as I can breathe clean air, without too much effort.

Post Script:
Totobobo has provided a nifty solution to the problem of mask fit. The Totobobo mask can be made to fit any face. Soften it in hot water (about 80 Deg C) and mould it to your face. Don't use boiling water. The mask will melt.

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