Buying pollution masks: Know your options
It's nearing mid-November and, as always, the air quality in North India has already dropped to insufferable levels. In Delhi, it's common for people to experience symptoms like regular coughing, headaches, and burning eyes. While air purifiers can improve indoor air quality, pollution masks are effective in filtering out pollutants outside home. We take a look at the best pollution masks available in India.
Knowing what type of mask to buy
There are several categories of pollution masks like N95, N100, P95, P100, R95, R100 etc., each offering their own levels of protection. However, most experts agree that N95 masks are suited for the situation people in North India face. N95 masks are cost effective, and only allow 5% of particulate matter to pass through, while allowing a user to to breathe.
Options within N95 masks
Firstly, make sure that the mask you're buying is N95 certified as a lot of untested, un-certified cheap masks are available on the market. Neither can surgical masks help in filtering out air pollutants. Within genuine N95 masks, the cheaper varieties, which start as low as Rs. 100, are effective in filtering pollutants, but come with no breathing valves thereby making breathing slightly difficult.
Prices of some of the best available products
Among the best cheap options available in India are the 3M 8210 (Rs. 93), 3M Aura (Rs. 249), Dettol Siti Shield Protect+ (Rs. 249), and the Honeywell H801 (Rs. 449 for 3). The costlier options include the Atlanta Healthcare Cambridge (Rs. 1,799), Vogmask (Rs. 2,000), Respro Techno (Rs. 2,999), and Totobobo (Rs.5,351).
The pros and cons of different available products
Within cheaper certified options, it's best to go with brands like 3M or Honeywell which have had long experience with industrial grade masks. With the more expensive ones, the Cambridge and the Vogmask are N99 rated, meaning that they can filter out 99% of air pollutants. The Vogmask also comes with breathing valves which prevent build-up of hot exhaled air inside the mask.