PM2.5 Activated Carbon Filters: Why use a filtered mask vs a non-filtered mask?

If you have stayed up to date on the current pandemic, you may have already seen several articles or advertisements for masks or filters pop up throughout your feed. You may be wondering whether there is an actual difference between using a filtered mask versus a non-filtered mask.

The first thing to consider is that since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is asking the public to reserve surgical masks and N95s as critical supplies for health care workers and other first responders, we recommend using a reusable mask to help preserve essential supplies needed in the medical industry. The added benefit of doing so is that it is also better for the environment since we would collectively cycle out a large portion of waste generated from the use of disposable masks. However, according to a study led by the chair of anesthesiology at Wake Forest Baptist Health, B. Scott Sega, MD, the effectiveness of homemade masks can vary greatly based on the material it's constructed with. While some basic masks can achieve up to 79% filtration, others demonstrated as little as 1% filtration. The study showed that "the best-performing design was constructed of two layers of high-quality, heavyweight 'quilter's cotton'." For comparison, most of our masks feature a 3-layer construction, and include PM2.5 filters  for additional protection. 

If you do not already have a comfortable and reliable re-usable mask, or are simply looking to upgrade your current mask, we offer a few designs that are eco-friendly, washable, and include an inner pocket design for filters. We recommend our  Adult Exhalation Valve + 4-Pack Filter Set, Adult Fashion Mask + 4-Pack Filter Set, or Kid Mask + 4-Pack Filter Set - all of which work more effectively than a basic cloth mask. For outdoor activity, we recommend our Adult Outdoors Sport Mask, which feature two exhalation valves for additional breathability, and also come with a PM2.5 activated carbon filter. 

Using PM2.5 activated carbon filters with your mask is an additional measure anybody can take for added protection. The PM2.5 name originates from the filters' ability to protect against Particulate Matter 2.5. Particulate matter is the sum of all liquid and solid particles suspended in air, which can include, but is not limited to: dust, liquid droplets, pollen, smoke, and soot.

While it is obvious that breathing in particles in the air can irritate your respiratory system, experts are particularly worried about PM2.5 as they can penetrate deep into our lungs. PM2.5 is the smallest and most hazardous form of air pollution. Airborne virions are smaller than PM2.5, however, lab tests show a PM2.5 filter with a properly-fitted cloth mask can reduce airborne particulates by nearly 90%.

Our PM2.5 activated carbon filters are made from the same materials used for respirators like the KN95, which is a form of personal protection equipment that is used to protect the wearer from airborne and liquid particles contaminating the face. From the activated carbon commonly used in air-purification systems for its natural antibacterial properties and ability to trap particulates, to the spunbond non-woven fabric that filters larger particles, PM2.5 filters provide a high degree of protection with less inhalation resistance compared to a traditional KN95 mask. 

If you have any questions about our PM2.5 activated carbon filters, or any of our products, please do not hesitate to reach out! Our team is always happy to help! 

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