When the winters set in New Delhi in November this year, newspaper reports highlighted the extreme poor air quality for the third year in a row at the national capital. Heavy smoke caused by the growing number of vehicles on the roads and worsened by stubble burning across Punjab and Haryana made the Supreme Court remark that Delhi had become a ‘gas chamber’. For common citizens, donning a face mask seemed to be the fastest and cheapest option to combat this alarmingly spreading health hazard.
Face Mask manufacturers had a field time supplying masks to the mass markets. Both big and small players realised the immense potential in this rather simple product where the demand has been consistently higher than the supply. However, a new hazard seems to be in the making- the market, especially in NCR where air pollution is most pronounced- has been flooded with extremely poor-quality face masks. Most of these masks are available for as cheap as Rs 20/- and are sold by an unscrupulous mechanism that comprises fly-by-night manufacturers, corrupt suppliers down to the men and women selling these masks at every street corner possible. Unsuspecting citizens have been picking up these face masks without realizing the danger these fake masks pose to users.
Spotting the Fakes
In a market where there are hundreds of varieties of face masks, of varying designs, makes and prices, how does one choose the right face mask to use against air pollution? Making the right choice starts with spotting the fakes and weeding them out. Below are some of the sure-shot signs that the face mask you are buying is either a fake, or is of substandard quality:
· The face masks are being sold loose without any markings
· There is no inlet/outlet valve for breathing the filtered air
· The markings are illegible or misspelt
· The ear loops are of poor quality and may not last a few hours’ usage
· There is only one layer of cloth in the mask
In case a face mask you pick up has any one of the above signs, drop it like a hot cake and move on!
Must Have Features
So, what are the features that one must look for while buying a Face Mask?
A good quality face mask must have the following features to be able to provide protection against existing levels of pollution:
- N95 Mark: As per US FDA guidelines, the ‘N95’ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the face mask blocks at least 95 percent of very small test particles up to PM 2.5 (PM stands for Particulate Matter, small invisible particles suspended in the air that can block our airways and lungs). This means, dust and other pollutants which are usually of size more than 0.3 micron will not enter the user’s airways when these face masks are used.
- Activated Charcoal Layers: This is a must in a good quality anti-pollution mask. Activated Charcoal ensures that harmful gases in the atmosphere are absorbed by the charcoal. Some toxins also get absorbed by the charcoal.
- Ear Loops Stability: Ear loops need to be long lasting for the User to be able to use the face mask easily. A badly fitting mask is of no use even if it has the best filters in it.
- Filtration Layers: The more the number of layers in the mask, the better is going to be the filtration capacity, and consequently better the quality of the air going inside your lungs.
- Vent Outlet: A good face mask should have at least one vent for letting out the exhaled CO2. Without a proper vent, some users may feel difficulty in breathing freely while using a mask.
Why Choosing MEDISAFE Face Masks is the Best Option
Delhi-based MedSamaan has recently launched a technologically advanced face-mask under the brand name MEDISAFE that scores over a lot of other established brands in the market like 3M, primarily due its rich stack of features and extremely competitive price. Here’s why you should go for the MEDISAFE anti-pollution face masks:
- Best in Industry Layering: Most face masks in the market today come with 3 layers, only a few companies put 4 or at the maximum 5 layers. However, the MEDISAFE masks come with 6 layers of protection, but without adding any additional weight to the mask.
- Hard Cold-Condensed Fiber Mesh: Most face masks in the market today have fibers woven together, which invariably leads to gaps in the mesh through which particulate matter can still enter the airways and harm the body. However, MEDISAFE face masks have a unique system of hard cold-condensed fiber meshes which ensures maximum protection against dust and other similar particulates.
- FFP2 Grade Protection: FFP stands for Fresh Frozen Plasma in the blood. When aerosols and other particulate matter in our breathing air interferes with our blood, it can have disastrous effects on our health. Accordingly, masks are graded as per their protection of FFP, with FFP3 masks being used in hospitals/sterile spaces as also in cement factories and similar high-risk zones. Most face mask manufacturers provide basic FFP1 protection, while MEDISAFE provides FFP2 grade protection, making it more effective in keeping out particulate matter from our breathing system.
- High Grade Activated Charcoal: The activated charcoal layer embedded in MEDISAFE brand of face masks is of very high quality and can absorb almost all poisonous gases and toxins in a polluting atmosphere.
- Fused Ear Loops for Longer Longevity: Even companies like 3M manufactures face masks which have the ear loops stapled to the mask. These staples invariably get tangled with hair and can be especially hurting for women/ men with long hair. Fused ear loops in the MEDISAFE face masks ensures greater longevity of the mask, and provides a comfortable securing arrangement for the face mask.
- Cushioned Nose Clips: Unlike most face masks in the market, MEDISAFE face masks have cushioned nose clips, and that too placed in the inside so that a wearer can have absolute comfort while having the mask sit on the face firmly.
- Two Vent System: Being FFP2 compliant, MEDISAFE Masks have a two-vent system to ensure effective and comfortable filtration.
- Variety in Sizes: For the price range that MEDSAFE is available at, it is the only mask that provides size options: it is available for both paediatric and adult use, making it the ideal buy for the family.
- Unbeatable Price: The MEDISAFE face mask is extremely competitively priced and is available at a retail price of Rs 250. MedSamaan is providing bulk discounts for high-volume orders.
The Choice of a Face mask is no longer a matter of fashion or protection, it is the need of the hour, considering the ‘severely poor’ air quality existing in NCR for the last six weeks (and likely to remain till March next year!). MEDISAFE offers a feature-packed solution to beat the dust pollution with a face mask that is breaking records at all levels for its simplicity of use, effectiveness and friendly price. Grab one before they run out!