When evaluating an air pollution respirator look for extensive documentation on two key essentials: FIT and EFFECTIVE FILTERS. If either is lacking, keep looking. Click here for an excellent article reviewing consumer mask testing in China.
Why don’t air pollution respirator companies encourage users to test their respirators? If it is P100/ N100 rated, take the smoke test. N95/P95 lets in too many particulates for the Smoke Test.
The Smoke Test:
- Wear your respirator/ mask in a confined space, e.g. a bathroom.
- Light something on fire! Don’t get carried away….
- Move your head about, up and down, run in place.
- Smell for smoke. With a City Gill, occasionally exhale through the nose.
With a well fit mask/ respirator, you won’t smell anything. If inclined, run through the official OSHA procedure.
At City Gill, we have been performing vacuum leak, smoke (smell), and BitrexTM (taste) qualitative fit testing. The initial version failed due to a leak in the exhaust port with our custom valve. No worries, we replaced it with one used in 3M’s full face mask respirators. With the upgrade, our City Gills pass every fit test with and without nose plugs.
As far as effective filters, we built our City Gills to use the best available, 3M’s P100 Advanced Particulate Filters with activated carbon to mitigate ozone exposure up to 10X OSHA limits and remove >= 99.97% of PM2.5 and PM10 particulates.
For us, air pollution protection isn’t a fashion statement, it must protect you or we won’t make it. Period.