Which anti-pollution mask should you buy?
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Which anti-pollution mask should you buy?

Find out which one in the market is best suited for you and what you should be looking for in a mask.

Which anti-pollution mask should you buy?

Despite pollution levels coming down from “Severe” to “Poor”, it may not be time yet to breathe easy. An AQI of around 290, which the NCR is currently recording, may be marginally better, but is in no way ideal. 

What is ideal is an AQI up to 50; anything above 100 is unhealthy, and potentially harmful. 

So if you haven’t already run to your nearest medical store to buy a mask, or looked up online stores, now might be a good time to do so. 

But which one do you buy? There are a hundred options, each claiming to filter out impurities of every kind. And the simple cotton or surgical masks that are readily available will only lull you into a false sense of security, as they are not designed to filter out particulate matter. 

So let us help you narrow down your search, with a list of the four best masks on the market. 

But first, know what you are looking for.

RATINGS: We see numbers such as N95, N99, and P95 being thrown around in the anti-pollution conversation, but do we know what these are? These are ratings for how effective a mask is, and how much pollutants it can filter out. An N95 rating means it can filter out 95 per cent of PM 2.5, whereas an N99 or an N100 rating means it can filter out 99 per cent to about 99.7 per cent of PM 2.5. A P rating means it can fiter out oil-based aersols as well.

VALVES: There are three types of masks — no valves, one valve and two valves. In the masks with valves, the inhaling is done via the filter layer(s) and the exhaling through the valve. This ensures that it does not become moist or stuffy inside the mask, and that there is a seamless flow of exhaled air. While single-valve masks are enough for everyday use, double-valve masks are advisable during outdoor activity such as cycling, running or even brisk walking. 

FIT: If the mask doesn’t fit you well, it will not be of much use in the long term, as it will get uncomfortable or painful, and not be snug enough for effective filtration. Most mask brands manufacture in different sizes, from XS to XL, so choose accordingly. Also, make sure the fabric is good-quality and that the nose bands are sturdy and adjustable. Broadly speaking, a mask with reusable filters is the most durable.

And now, for the four best options available:

1. Honeywell D7002

These are lightweight, disposable paper masks and effective in very dusty areas. These don’t have valves and as such are not effective for strenuous outdoor activities. With a three-layer filtration process and a Kn95 rating, these are handy for everyday use. However, one huge plus of the brand is that unlike a few others, Honeywell makes anti-pollution masks for children as well. Soft, with specially designed valves and available in attractive designs, these are great for kids.

Price: Rs 499 for a pack of 10

Buy from: Amazon.in; Flipkart.com

2. Atlanta Healthcare Cambridge N99

Available without valves and with, these masks have a military-grade filtration technology that filter out not just dust and particulate matter but even oil-based contaminants, virus, bacteria and even pollen. It also has an activated carbon filter layer developed by the UK defence ministry.

Price: Rs 1,799 onwards 

Buy from: Atlantahealthcare.in 

3. Vogmask N99

Apart from the N99 rating, this has an additional acrylic and coconut-shell-derived layer bonded to polyester, tightening the filtration process. With multiple layers of filtration, these are available in microfibre and cotton variants and come in some pretty dynamic colour options. It is washable and reusable but with a shelf life, depending on the level of pollution. Once the middle filter layer gets clogged with pollutants, the whole mask will need to be replaced. This usually takes about six to eight months. 

Price: Rs 2,000 onwards 

Buy from: Nirvanabeing.com

4. Respro

These masks conform to the European PPE, or Personal Protection Equipment, standards, and are hence available in international P1 ratings. So you’ll see ratings of FFP1, FFP2 and FFP3, corresponding to N95 through N99 filtrations. These have replaceable filters, and with adjustable nose fittings and dual valves, are effective in heavy outdoor usage. 

Price: Rs2,699 onwards 

Buy from: Amazon.in


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