Avian Flu Personal Protection

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Particulate disposable masks

[To see pics legend drag pointer; to enlarge and see full size double click on a pic; pics can be saved, as the full page]

The particulate mask called too N95 (or N99-N100), HEPA mask, in North American areas is THE mask which is able to protect from strains as SARS, flu, or tuberculosis. They should be prefered to
surgical masks for daily gear or health care use if a pandemic occurs. Stewardesses, nurses, common people often wore them during SARS times, despite of how uncomfy or bulky they feeled.
They can be found at all providers for industrial needs, or even homecraft shops. The price is far higher than surgical masks.
The design of these masks prevents leakage by offering a tight face seal, and the thick filtering cup holds most of the tiny particulates. They can have an expiration valve, which helps to reduce the breathing resistance and the heat inside the mask. But a valved mask should never be used by a sick patient, and the valve in some models is not 100% safe ...

A lighter design, yet N95 norm, is the Pleats model, which can be worn folded or unfolded for a lower breathing resistance. It exists in size small (for teens and women), but the coating is less efficient than the best new particulate masks.

Traditional cup design has been improved since last ten years. Moldex as instance :

Other brands develop folding models, the expiration valve when present can be on the top face, or on a side face of the mask.
Brands as Dräger or MSA sell now those kinds of models against Avian Flu hazard.

3M offers a wide range of traditional cup masks, up to the high filtration bulky models. 8170 and 8210 models were a best used model during SARS and were been widely used against Tuberculosis.

3M has designed too a new serie of masks, folded and seealed in indivual package for more convenience. They are more comfortable than the traditional cup series.

Asian industry provides masks designed for the flat face profile.


  • At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Freedom said…

    Can you tell me which facemask is designed for the Asian face and where I can purchase same? I am interested in masks for general use during an Avian flu outbreak. Thanks. email: MCF826@yahoo.com

  • At 8:36 PM, Anonymous Freedom said…

    Forgot to mention. I live on the East coast of USA but have relatives in Hong Kong and Shanghai, so if you know of sources to purchase in the USA as well as in HK/China, I would be most appreciative. However, the most important information is which model is especially suited for Asian facial structure.

  • At 8:27 PM, Anonymous Freedom said…

    Responding to this paragraph of the original post, "3M has designed too a new serie of masks, folded and seealed in indivual package for more convenience. They are more comfortable than the traditional cup series",

    Freedom: I searched several websites and was drawn back to one that had an elaborate display of clearly photographed masks to examine on the web. Today, 4/24/2006, I went to their office, and it's Respirators,Inc.,(tel:1-800-883-9406) website www.respirators.us with my Asian wife, The proprietor Howard Ryan, allowed us to try on several masks. The two that are suitable for the more flat bone structure of the Asian face are structured Alpha-Protec's one-size-fits-all and 3M's soft folding flat model 9211 which comes in individually wrapped and sealed packets. We both liked the latter, the 9211, after keeping it on for about five minutes each. What made it nice is not only the versatility of fit (I think one-size-fits-all applies to this mask as well with either Asian or Caucasian bone structure as I have) but it has a plastic breather fitting (looks like a large button) so the inside of the mask does not get humid. This would not be good for a person who is infected but is excellent for anyone trying to prevent being infected. It is a superb mask and Mr. Ryan said it was his most popular selling mask. We bought enough for our entire extended family and did so because they do not consider it important but we know that if the avian flu should appear, they will be grateful as there will be a run on them and very hard to obtain. Also, each of us will carry one 9211 mask flatly sealed in the cellophone wrapper, to work in Manhattan. Carrying one in the briefcase is important since experiencing the terrorism of 9/11 which I personally witnessed and ended up working with survivors across from "ground zero" every Monday for months. I developed significant lung problems the following year and now wish I had the good sense to wear a mask as I walked the streets from the subway to the building that I went to opposite ground zero. Now, I will never be caught without one. Hope this is of help to all as this sums up my knowledge and experience with masks. My thanks to Anita for one wonderful site with photos and all as it was highly educative to us. This site is quite an effort on her part and much appreciated.

  • At 2:54 PM, Anonymous cityrider said…

    Hi Anita, thanks for your effort putting together this informative site. I wonder if you'd be interested to evaluate a new type of respirator at this website: www.TOTOBOBO.com
    The transparent mask allow the user to visualy check the face fit. And it can be trimmed to fit smaller faces.


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