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What are Anti-Pollution Masks?

Air pollution is a serious health threat, not just in densely populated urban areas, but also rural areas where air quality is declared as poor from weather streams spreading the pollution much further. One recent example is the wildfire smoke from the US west coast travelling as far north into Canada as British Columbia and eventually even Ontario. At one point Vancouver had the worst air quality of any major world city. Wildfire smoke of course is easier to see and smell than any other type of pollution. Dangerous air particles are being spewed into the air that we breathe every day, not just from human causes such as cars, construction and factories, but also dust and allergy-causing tree pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and in recent times dangerous pathogens including influenza viruses (bird flu and SARS), as seen recently with the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the pollution levels rising at a drastic rate and the air quality hitting an all-time low, it’s up to every individual to opt for anti-pollution measures to breathe cleaner air. And one such simple, easily available and effective option to fight pollution is the use of anti-pollution masks.

An anti-pollution mask is designed to protect the wearer from pollutants and dangerous particles in the ambient air. It can be disposable (single-use) or reusable (multi-use). Anti-pollution masks are known as respirators. It is a device which helps breathe cleaner air by preventing inhalation of dangerous Particulate Matter and infectious particles such as bacteria and viruses.

There are several types of respirators that range from escape respirators, which are used in emergencies to gas mask respirators which filter chemical gases. However, the ones used to fight pollution and protect against infectious agents are particulate respirators. These are commonly known as air-purifying respirators. The N95 respirator is a type of particulate respirator which is well known for medical use in highly compromised situations.

According to the US Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), cloth and surgical masks are not designed to filter out particulate matter and other air pollutants. They can act as a barrier against exhaling droplets of large respiratory particles, and so provide some level of protection against spread of pathogens, but fail to protect the mask user as these masks do not filter out Particulate Matter smaller than 10. Hence, it is not wise to use a cloth or surgical mask to protect against pollution or pathogens.

The best anti-pollution mask is the one that filters out most of the particulate matter in the air and helps you breathe cleaner air. To protect yourself from particles, it is best to choose a mask that is rated with at least a PM2.5 filtering capability, but PM0.3 is recommended for filtering ultra-fine particles including spores, influenza viruses (bird flu, SARS), and other fine particles - provided that all the requirements of optimal use are respected, including a tight seal with the face.

How can CUVU Anti-Pollution masks help?

The 3M filtering material and technology used in making CUVU anti-pollution masks make them ideal for filtering not only common air pollutants, but also ultra-fine particulate matter PM0.3, including particles as small as bacteria and some viruses. Unlike other anti-pollution masks that are re-usable for a limited period only and then are discarded after a few months of use, CUVU anti-pollution masks have replaceable filter material, allowing them to be used for much longer and refreshed as needed, saving the environment and reducing overall costs.