New Delhi: With a sharp rise in air pollution in north India, and as toxic air overlays the cities for days, a high-quality mask can be effective to a certain extent in protecting from micro-particles that can enter the lungs and cause damage.
Anti-pollution masks have air filtration devices, which are better than cloth or surgical masks. The latter is ineffective against pollutants like PM 2.5. N95 or N99 masks are considered to be more beneficial in fending off pollutants.
According to the US Embassy here, PM 2.5 level on Friday hit 450 on air quality index (AQI). According to Safar India, the PM 10 count, which was earlier in the “very poor” category, reached “severe” at AQI of 555.
“Go for masks equipped with activated carbon layers and filters to stop PM 2.5 or higher particles. One should wear a mask as soon as the AQI level crosses 50 as this value is considered unsafe,” Ankit Bansal, Consultant- Pulmonology/ Chest & Sleep Medicine at Fortis Escorts Hospital in Jaipur, told IANS.
“For instance, if the pollution levels in your surroundings are not too severe, you can go for this washable 6-layer N99 + PM2.5 mask,” he said.
Here are some high-quality anti-pollution masks which people can use:
–Xiaomi Mi AirPOP Anti-Pollution Mask (Around Rs 249 — a pack of two)
The AirPOP Anti-Pollution Mask can block out particles as small as 0.3-micron and has the PM2.5 filtration efficiency of 99.97 per cent.
This has a 4-layer filtration process in place between the air that you are about to breathe and your nose.
There is a vortex breathing valve that will quickly release the warm air and vapour that could build up in a mask from time to time.
–Air Ok Breathe Safe Face mask N 99+ ANBC (Anti Nicotine Bacterial Control)
These masks come with five-layered fabric which includes charcoal layer which prevents gaseous and other toxic pollutants.
It will protect you from pollution including PM 2.5, automobile gases and dust also. It cost up to Rs 250 per mask.
–N95 mask: This is the most widely used air pollution mask. It removes up to 95 per cent non-oily allergens as small as 0.3 microns. N95 masks are washable and reusable. It costs up to Rs 90 to 150 per mask.
–N99 and N100 masks: The N99 can remove up to 99 per cent particles as small as 0.3 microns. It is not resistant to oil, and hence, is not suitable for oil-filled environments.
–The N100 mask eliminates up to 99.97 pollutants as small as 0.3 microns. It is a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) mask with superior particulate filtration. It costs up to Rs 1,800 to Rs 2,800 per mask.
–P95 masks: P95 masks intercept both oil-based and non-oil based impurities. It removes up to 95 per cent of all air pollutants of size 0.3 micron and larger. It costs up to Rs 1,000 per mask.