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The Leaders In Personal Air and UV Protection

FAQ

      What Size Air Mask Do I Need?

      A proper fit is critical to achieve a tight seal guaranteeing the effectiveness of your StyleSEAL air mask. Current respirators and surgical masks are typically one-size-fits-all, so it is not surprising that they perform poorly, even if the filter is of good quality.

      We manufacture our StyleSEAL air masks in multiple sizes to insure you get the quality fit that you need for, men, women and children of all sizes: Extra Large (XL), Large (L), Medium (M), Small (S). Additionally, we have adjustable ear loops to help you further customize your personal fit.

      There are several methods to determine the size you need, either by FACE MEASUREMENT, EAR to EAR MEASUREMENT, WEIGHT or by TEMPLATE.  Unless you have an unusually large or small head most people could wear either of two sizes closest to their fit by adjusting the ear loops and nose piece.  You can compare the results of a couple of these methods to help confirm the correct size for you.

      FACE MEASUREMENT SIZING

      The table below gives you dimensions you can relate to your facial coverage to give you an idea of which size mask may be right for you.

      Width – Measure across your face and nose to approximately midway between your mouth and ear, just past your cheek bones as shown in the sketch.

      Height – Measure from the bridge of your nose where the mask should end to just under your chin as shown in the sketch.

      Mask Size Width (CM) Height (CM)
      S 16 12
      M 18 13
      L 20 14
      XL 22 16

      EAR TO EAR MEASUREMENT SIZING

      The table below gives you dimensions you can relate to the distance around your ears along the perimeter of the mask to give you another idea of which size mask may be right for you.

      Measure around both ears, across the bridge of your nose and at the chin as shown in the photo below.   Your measurement should fall within the table below.

      Mask

      Size

      Min.

      (CM)

      Max.

      (CM)

      S

      57

      68

      M

      61

      74

      L

      65

      84

      XL

      70

      90

      WEIGHT SIZING

      The table below gives you weights you can relate to the size of your face as another reference.  

      Mask

      Size

      Min.

      (Kg)

      Max.

      (Kg)

      S 10 30
      M 24 60
      L 50 90
      XL 75+

      TEMPLATE SIZING

      Or print, cut out and use these handy templates (click on link below) and follow the instructions to determine what size StyleSEAL is right for you.

      Instructions:

      1. Print the size you think may be right for you.
      2. After printing check the dimension printed on the template to insure it printed to the correct size.
      3. Cut along the dotted lines.
      4. Fold along the center line and tape the nose and chin flaps together.
      5. Hold to you face to evaluate fit.
      6. Try smaller or larger if needed.

      Unless you have an unusually large of small head most people could where either of two sizes closest to their fit by adjusting the ear loops and nose piece.  Some people prefer covering more and some less of their face.  

      If you will be using an exhalation valve we would recommend using the larger of the two possible sizes.

       

      TEMPLATES

      Which Filters Should I Use?

      Selecting the correct filter is choosing the proper balance between:

      • Filtration Efficiency Rate
      • Breathability (Ease of breathing)

      There is generally a direct relationship between the filtration rate and breathability.  As the filtration rate goes up the breathability goes down.  Since all our product offer replaceable filters we give you r the choice between higher filtration or breathability.  

      If the air quality is very poor (Red – 150 and up AQI) you may want to sacrifice breathability for filtration.  However, if the air quality is moderate, you may want to lower the filtration a bit to improve the breathability and your comfort.  

      The first step in this process is to stay aware of the air quality levels

      The simplest method to select the proper filter to meet your hazard level would be to use the AQI reading or the PM 2.5 reading in your micro-environment. There is not much benefit of the government posting these readings if we do not react to them by wearing some form of protection when the air quality is not Good (0 – 50). Even though we should many of us just can’t stay home when the air quality is unhealthy. 

      Below is the Air Quality Index (AQI) as a reference:

      AQI Colors

      EPA has assigned a specific color to each AQI category to make it easier for people to understand quickly whether air pollution is reaching unhealthy levels in their communities. For example, the color orange means that conditions are “unhealthy for sensitive groups,” while red means that conditions may be “unhealthy for everyone,” and so on:

      Each category corresponds to a different level of health concern. The six levels of health concern and what they mean are:

      • “Good” AQI is 0 to 50. Air quality is considered satisfactory, and air pollution poses little or no risk.
      • “Moderate” AQI is 51 to 100. Air quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people. For example, people who are unusually sensitive to ozone may experience respiratory symptoms.
      • “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” AQI is 101 to 150. Although general public is not likely to be affected at this AQI range, people with lung disease, older adults and children are at a greater risk from exposure to ozone, whereas persons with heart and lung disease, older adults and children are at greater risk from the presence of particles in the air.
      • “Unhealthy” AQI is 151 to 200. Everyone may begin to experience some adverse health effects, and members of the sensitive groups may experience more serious effects.
      • “Very Unhealthy” AQI is 201 to 300. This would trigger a health alert signifying that everyone may experience more serious health effects.
      • “Hazardous” AQI greater than 300. This would trigger a health warning of emergency conditions. The entire population is more likely to be affected.

      Sensitive Groups

      The AQI specifically identifies Sensitive Groups.  Who are in Sensitive Groups?  Some people are more sensitive to air pollution than other people. Different people can be sensitive to different air pollutants. For example, ozone might make you cough. Particulate matter may not bother you, but it may make your grandmother cough and need to rest.

      Another sensitive group is children. A childs’ body is still growing, and their lungs are still developing. Many studies show that exposure to air pollution reduces lung development in children.  They also need to play outside, get more exercise and less  video entertainment.   When they do they just need to be properly protected.

      Another sensitive group is people with asthma. Asthma is a disease that can make it hard to breathe. If people who have asthma are careful and do what the doctor tells them to do, they may never have trouble breathing.

      Hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, the fifth most common disease in the United States (U.S.) has symptoms similar to those of a cold such as sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and sinus pressure.  It is caused by an allergic response to airborne substances, such as pollen. The time of year it happens depends on what substance, or allergen, the person reacts to.

      Finally, aging or ill people have reduced immune systems and are therefore more susceptible to air contaminants.

      No matter which Sensitive Group you may fall in, you should be diligent in your awareness of the air quality and protect yourself accordingly.

      StyleSEAL Filter Choices

      We have combined the AQI with our recommended filter for each level based on whether you are sensitive or not and if you want to be more cautious or not.  We have also taken breath-ability and your comfort into consideration.  We want you to be inclined to wear your StyleSEAL mask even when the air is in the Yellow or Orange level.

      Materials In the Air

      Below is a chart that indicates the material sizes for various materials found in the air.  You should evaluate the hazards you are attempting to filter and compare to the chart and filter capabilities.

      In addition to the AQI, the  the US EPA Air Now calculator is available at airnow.gov

      Another good option we recommend is the AirVisual App.  You can set a notification to alert you of the air quality each morning and/or evening.  This can be a very helpful in deciding when you should wear your StyleSEAL air mask.  You should always have it handy in your purse or briefcase anyway.  

      You can also use a portable air quality meter to give you the current PM2.5 reading in your micro-environment.

      How Long Do The Filters Last?

      The length of time between filter changes is affected by many factors:

      • Concentration of Contaminants In the Air
      • Breathing Rate
      • Humidity
      • Heat

      The Short Answer

      1. No more than 16 hours of on face use.
      2. If the filter shows 50% gray discoloration.
      3. If the filter becomes wet.
      4. If breathing becomes impaired.
      5. Maximum usage: 14 days or less

      As the filters get clogged they become harder to breathe through they should be changed. You can also gauge by color so as they become increasingly grey then change them. The cleaner the filter the easier it is to breathe and safer you are. Also, even though a filter may look clean from breathing water can condense in the filter and can result in the growth of microorganisms. This should be considered in determining the frequency of change. Thicker filters can capture more particles and last longer so keep that in mind when selecting your filter.

      Since the cost of our filters is more affordable more frequent changing is recommended and one of the benefits of our replaceable filters.

      The Longer Answer

      The length of time between filter changes is affected by many factors listed below that can vary greatly from user to user.

      • Concentration of Contaminants In the Air
      • Breathing Rate
      • Humidity
      • Heat

      Additionally,

      What is the density of the particulates or pollution?

      What are the pollutants?

      How hard are you working and breathing?

      How big are you?

      How long is your typical use?

      How hot is it and how much are you perspiring?

      Since it is not possible for us, or even you, to easily answer these questions, the best answer is to change the filter frequently for maximum protection. The more that you use your air mask the more familiar you will become with your micro-environment and how frequently to change your filters.

      If you wear the air mask infrequently for short durations the filter may last up to two weeks maximum.

      If you wear the air masks for long durations and in heavy use you should change the filter often.

      If the filters start to turn 50% gray definitely change them.

      If the filter becomes wet change them after each use.

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      What Are The Advantages of Replaceable Filters?

      StyleSEAL filters are replaceable which is slightly different from a surgical mask or a N95 respirator that is disposable. We will compare our replaceable filters to both alternatives below.

      NOTE: Cloth only masks should not even be compared since cloth alone is not a filter since it is meant to breathe. Cloth only filters merely keep the bugs out of your nose.

      StyleSEAL Air Mask vs. Disposable Masks (Respirators and Surgical Masks)

      • Superior Fit and Seal – StyleSEAL masks have multiple sizes to match your unique face as well as a much more effective moldable metal nose piece to hold the contours of your nose and face. Surgical masks and respirators are generally one-size fits all and are difficult to make fit well and hold the seal.
      • Attractive Designs and Fabrics
      • Significantly Less Cost Long Term – Since our filters are housed in the StyleSEAL air mask the amount of material in each filter is less. Surgical masks and respirators are entirely made from the filter materials even though the vast majority of the air only passes through a portion of the filter. We put the filter where it needs to be and the larger fabric area is reusable. Also, the ear loops and a metal nose piece on disposable masks are also disposed each time. Since ours are reused we can then offer you much higher quality ear loops and nose pieces.
      • Higher Quality Materials
      • Multiple Filter Levels – Quickly changeable to match your current hazard level and budget.

      StyleSEAL Air Mask vs. Products with Non-Replaceable Filters

      • Superior Fit and Seal – StyleSEAL masks offer a much more effective moldable nose piece to hold the contours of your nose and face.
      • Significantly Less Cost – Since our filters are replaceable the initial cost of our mask is much less. Our filters are much smaller than a built in filter that fits the entire mask so they are much less costly long term as well. Since our masks are much less costly you an afford to have more colors and styles to match you wardrobe.
      • No Risk of Damage During Cleaning – Our masks are laundered without the filters inside since the filters are replaced as needed. Non-replaceable filters must have the filter washed. Washing filters will reduce their effectiveness and should be avoided.
      • Ease In Knowing the State of the Filter – Non-replaceable filters are not visible to the user so it is impossible to know when the should be laundered, if they are clean or not, or if they are damaged.
      • Ease In Knowing When To Change the Filter Versus Cleaning – Since our filters are readily accessible it is easy to know how dirty they are and if they need to be changed. Filters are meant to be replaced not washed.
      • Multiple Filter Levels – Quickly changeable to match your current hazard.
      What Are The Differences Between Our Filter Levels?

      80 Yellow Filter – Offers a high level of protection from PM2.5 and PM10 particulates with over 80% of .3 µm particulates filtered according to independent test results. Designed to be competitively priced with less effective surgical masks, the SS-80 filter is lighter weight than our other filters at 70 gsm, is .7 mm thick and possess a very low air pressure loss of ≤ 8.9 Pa/cm2. The high air permeability makes breathing through the mask and creates less heat inside.

      80+ Carbon Filter – Our economy carbon filter offering a high level of protection from PM2.5 and PM10 particulates with over 80% of .3 µm particulates filtered according to independent test results PLUS a carbon additive. The carbon can absorb gaseous pollutants such as formaldehyde and other hazardous chemicals. This filter is great for those working in hazardous conditions such as hair and nail salons, turf and other maintenance, pest control or those near automobile exhaust. Designed to be competitively priced with less effective surgical masks, the 90+ filter weighs 70 gsm, is .1.2 mm thick exclusive of the carbon layer and possess a very low air pressure loss of 8.9 Pa/cm2. Good air permeability makes breathing through the mask and creates less heat inside.

      90 Orange Filter – A high value filter offering a high level of protection from PM2.5 and PM10 particulates with over 90% of .3 µm particulates filtered according to independent test results. The SS-90 filter has a heavier weight at 90 gsm than the SS-80 for improved durability, is .8 mm thick, but still possess a very low air pressure loss of less than 8.3 Pa/cm2.

      90+ Carbon Filter – A high value carbon filter offering a high level of protection from PM2.5 and PM10 particulates with over 90% of .3 µm particulates filtered according to independent test results. The SS-90 filter has a heavier weight at 90 gsm than the SS-80 for improved durability, is 1.5 mm thick, but still possesses a very low air pressure loss of less than 8.3 Pa/cm2.

      95S Red Filter – Offers a high level of protection from PM2.5 and PM10 particulates with over 95% of .3 µm particulates filtered according to independent test results PLUS a Nano-silver additive which is known to be an effective tool for killing disease-causing bacteria. The 95S filter weighs 170 gsm, is 1.2mm thickness. The 95S is 50% thicker than the SS-90. Thicker filters can capture more particles and last longer so keep that in mind when selecting your filter. The 95S has an air pressure loss of 16.4 Pa/cm2, though higher than the SS-80 and SS-90 due to the added thickness, the breathability is still lower than most of the competition making the SS-95 effective and more comfortable to wear.

      99S Red Filter – The highest level of protection from PM2.5 and PM10 particulates with over 99% of .3 µm particulates filtered and a bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) of over 99.99% according to independent test results PLUS a Nano-silver additive which is known to be an effective tool for killing disease-causing bacteria. The 99S filter is the heaviest weight product with at 170 gsm and is 1.4 mm thick. The SS-99S as our premium filter having a lower air pressure loss of 13.2 Pa/cm2 when compared to the 95S making the SS-99S the most effective AND comfortable to wear.

      The higher the filter level the greater the protection. Also, the higher the filter level the heavier the filter is in weight. The heavier filter fabric makes the filter more durable which is good for longer use and poorer air quality applications. The downside to thickness is that as the filtration levels increases the air permeability decreases somewhat making them more difficult to breathe through. One of the benefits of our multiple levels is that we give you the opportunity to choose what is more important (filtration, air permeability, cost) and select the option that is best for your particular situation. Your filtration needs can change so it is best to keep a stock of various levels so you can select the correct filter for each situation as they arise.

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      What Is The Benefit of Carbon?

      Activated carbon is carbon that has been treated with oxygen; this causes millions of tiny pores to open up on the carbon’s surface. In fact, these pores are so numerous that a single pound of activated carbon may provide 60 to 150 acres of surface area to trap pollutants. Once carbon has been activated, it can remove a long list of airborne chemicals, including alcohols, organic acids, aldehydes, chlorinated hydrocarbons, ethers, esters, ketones, halogens, sulfur dioxide, sulfuric acid, and phosgene, among many others.

      Carbon can also remove odors which can be very beneficial.

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      How Do Filters Work?

      By the Center for Disease Control – http://blogs.cdc.gov/niosh-science-blog/2009/10/n95/

      FILTER PERFORMANCE

      The filters used in modern surgical masks and respirators are considered “fibrous” in nature—constructed from flat, nonwoven mats of fine fibers. Fiber diameter, porosity (the ratio of open space to fibers) and filter thickness all play a role in how well a filter collects particles. In all fibrous filters, three “mechanical” collection mechanisms operate to capture particles: inertial impaction, interception, and diffusion. Inertial impaction and interception are the mechanisms responsible for collecting larger particles, while diffusion is the mechanism responsible for collecting smaller particles. In some fibrous filters constructed from charged fibers, an additional mechanism of electrostatic attraction also operates. This mechanism aids in the collection of both larger and smaller particle sizes. This latter mechanism is very important to filtering facepiece respirator filters that meet the stringent NIOSH filter efficiency and breathing resistance requirements because it enhances particle collection without increasing breathing resistance.

      How do filters collect particles?

      These capture, or filtration, mechanisms are described as follows:

      • Inertial impaction: With this mechanism, particles having too much inertia due to size or mass cannot follow the air stream as it is diverted around a filter fiber. This mechanism is responsible for collecting larger particles.
      • Interception: As particles pass close to a filter fiber, they may be intercepted by the fiber. Again, this mechanism is responsible for collecting larger particles.
      • Diffusion: Small particles are constantly bombarded by air molecules, which causes them to deviate from the airstream and come into contact with a filter fiber. This mechanism is responsible for collecting smaller particles.
      • Electrostatic attraction: Oppositely charged particles are attracted to a charged fiber. This collection mechanism does not favor a certain particle size.

      Filtration Mechanisms

      In all cases, once a particle comes in contact with a filter fiber, it is removed from the airstream and strongly held by molecular attractive forces. It is very difficult for such particles to be removed once they are collected. As seen in Figure 1, there is a particle size at which none of the “mechanical” collection mechanisms (interception, impaction, or diffusion) is particularly effective. This “most penetrating particle size” (MPPS) marks the best point at which to measure filter performance. If the filter demonstrates a high level of performance at the MPPS, then particles both smaller AND larger will be collected with even higher performance.

      This is perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of filter performance and bears repeating. Filters do NOT act as sieves. One of the best tests of a filter’s performance involves measuring particle collection at its most penetrating particle size, which ensures better performance for larger and smaller particles. Further, the filter’s collection efficiency is a function of the size of the particles, and is not dependent on whether they are bio-aerosols or inert particles.

      How are surgical masks and respirator filters tested?

      Respirator filters must meet stringent certification tests (42 CFR Part 84) established by NIOSH. The NIOSH tests use what are considered “worst case” parameters, including:

      • A sodium chloride (for N-series filters) or a dioctyl phthalate oil (for R- and P-series filters) test aerosol with a mass median aerodynamic diameter particle of about 0.3 µm, which is in the MPPS-range for most filters
      • Airflow rate of 85 L/min, which represents a moderately-high work rate
      • Conditioning at 85% relative humidity and 38°C for 24 hours prior to testing
      • An initial breathing resistance (resistance to airflow) not exceeding 35 mm water column* height pressure and initial exhalation resistance not exceeding 25 mm water column height pressure
      • A charge-neutralized aerosol
      • Aerosol loading conducted to a minimum of 200 mg, which represents a very high workplace exposure
      • The filter efficiency cannot fall below the certification class level at any time during the NIOSH certification tests

      * Millimeters (mm) of water column is a unit for pressure measurement of small pressure differences. It is defined as the pressure exerted by a column of water of 1 millimeter in height at defined conditions, for example 39°F (4°C) at standard gravity.

      As a result of these stringent performance parameters, fiber diameters, porosity, and filter thicknesses of all particulate filters used in NIOSH-certified respirators, including N95s, are designed and engineered to provide very high levels of particle collection efficiencies at their MPPS.

      Manufacturers of surgical masks, on the other hand, must demonstrate that their product is at least as good as a mask already on the market to obtain “clearance” for marketing. Manufacturers may choose from filter tests using a biological organism aerosol at an airflow of 28 L/min (bacterial filtration efficiency) or an aerosol of 0.1 µm latex spheres and a velocity ranging from 0.5 to 25 cm/sec (particulate filtration efficiency). It is important to note that the Food and Drug Administration specifies that the latex sphere aerosol must not be charge-neutralized.

      The generation of the test aerosol can impart a charge on a higher percentage of the aerosolized particles than may normally be expected in workplace exposures. A charge-neutralized test aerosol, like those used in the NIOSH tests, has the charges on the aerosolized particles reduced to an equilibrium condition. Therefore, higher filter efficiency values than would be expected with the use of charge-neutralized aerosols may result due to the collection of charged particles by the filters’ electrostatic attraction properties. Additionally, allowing the manufacturer to select from a range of air velocity means that the test results can be easily manipulated. In general, particles are collected with higher efficiency at lower velocity through a filter.

      Both of these aspects yield a test that is not necessarily “worst case” for a surgical mask filter. Because the performance parameters for surgical masks are less stringent than those required for filters used in NIOSH-certified respirators, the fiber diameters, porosity, and filter thicknesses found in surgical masks are designed with significantly lower levels of particle collection efficiencies at their MPPS.

      How do surgical mask and respirator filters perform?

      Respirator filters that collect at least 95% of the challenge aerosol are given a 95 rating. Those that collect at least 99% receive a “99″ rating. And those that collect at least 99.97% (essentially 100%) receive a “100″ rating. Respirator filters are rated as N, R, or P for their level of protection against oil aerosols. This rating is important in industry because some industrial oils can remove electrostatic charges from the filter media, thereby degrading (reducing) the filter efficiency performance. Respirators are rated “N” if they are not resistant to oil, “R” if somewhat resistant to oil, and “P” if strongly resistant (oil proof). Thus, there are nine types of particulate respirator filters:

      • N95, N-99, and N-100
      • R-95, R-99, and R-100
      • P-95, P-99, and P-100

      Respirator filters are tested by NIOSH at the time of application and periodically afterward to ensure that they continue to meet the certification test criteria. The FDA does not perform an independent evaluation of surgical mask filter performance, nor does it publish manufacturers’ test results. In many cases it is difficult to find information about the filter test results for FDA-cleared surgical masks. The class of FDA-cleared surgical masks known as Surgical N95 Respirators is the one clear exception to this uncertainty of filter performance. This is the only type of surgical mask that includes evaluation to the stringent NIOSH standards. All members of this class of surgical masks have been approved by NIOSH as N95 respirators prior to their clearance by the FDA as surgical masks. The FDA, in part, accepts the NIOSH filter efficiency and breathing resistance test results as exceeding the usual surgical mask requirements.

      In studies comparing the performance of surgical mask filters using a standardized airflow, filter performance has been shown to be highly variable. Collection efficiency of surgical mask filters can range from less than 10% to nearly 90% for different manufacturers’ masks when measured using the test parameters for NIOSH certification. Published results on the FDA-required tests (if available) are not predictive of their performance in these studies.

      It is important to keep in mind that overall performance of any facepiece for particulate filtering depends, first, on good filter performance. A facepiece or mask that fits well to the face but has a poor filter will not be able to provide a high level of protection.

      Respirator and Surgical Mask Fit

      Because respirator filters must meet stringent certification requirements, they will always demonstrate a very high level of collection efficiency for the broad range of aerosols encountered in workplaces. There has been some recent concern that respirator filters will not collect nano-sized particles, but research has demonstrated that such particles are collected with efficiencies that meet NIOSH standards. This is not surprising, because NIOSH tests employ small, charge-neutralized, relatively monodisperse aerosol particles and a high airflow.

      Thus, the most important aspect of a NIOSH-certified respirator’s performance will be how well it fits to the face and minimizes the degree of leakage around the facepiece. This must be measured for each individual and their selected respirator. Selecting the right respirator for a particular workplace exposure depends largely on selecting the right level of protection.

      Respirator fit depends on two important design characteristics:

      • Whether the respirator operates in a “negative pressure” or “positive pressure” mode
      • The type of facepiece and degree of coverage on the face

      Respirators that operate in a “negative pressure” mode require the wearer to draw air through an air-cleaning device (filter or chemical cartridge) into the facepiece, which creates a pressure inside the respirator that is negative in comparison to that outside the facepiece. A “positive pressure” respirator, on the other hand, pushes clean air into the facepiece through the use of a fan or compressor, creating a positive pressure inside the facepiece when compared to the outside. Negative pressure respirators inherently offer less protection than positive pressure respirators, because inward leakage occurs more easily in the former.

      The face-piece design is also very important—some designs fit on the face better than others. It is more difficult to fit a half-facepiece respirator (one that covers the mouth and nose only) than a full-face-piece respirator (one that also covers the eyes). The nose and chin are the most difficult facial features on which to establish a tight fit. The fit of a hood, helmet or “loose-fitting” facepiece is highly dependent on the specific design and configuration. More details on the different classes of respirators and their levels of protection, can be found on the NIOSH respirator topic page and the OSHA Respiratory Protection Standard.

      Because fit is so important, NIOSH recommends and OSHA requires that each respirator wearer receive an initial fit test and annual fit tests thereafter. It is not possible to predict how well a respirator will fit on a particular face, even for respirators that fit well on a broad range of facial sizes.

      The FDA does not recommend or require any test of fit for surgical masks. A very limited number of published studies are available on this aspect of surgical mask performance. Three clinical studies conducted in the 1980s and 90s found no difference in surgical infection rates when staff did not wear surgical masks.

      A recent laboratory study of five surgical masks with “good” filters found that 80–100% of subjects failed an OSHA-accepted qualitative fit test using Bitrex (a bitter tasting aerosol) and quantitative fit factors ranged from 4–8 (12–25% leakage) using a TSI Portacount.4 In contrast, the least protective type of respirator (negative pressure half mask) must have a fit factor (outside particle concentration divided by inside concentration) of at least 100 (1% leakage).

      What Are Exhalation Valves and Do I Need One?

      Exhalation valves vents out hot, moist, exhaled air. This lowers the temperature inside the mask keeping you comfortable longer and should extend the life of the filter.

      Benefits of a Vented Air Mask

      • Reduces Exhalation Effort
      • Cooler To Wear
      • More Comfortable Longer

      Benefits of a Non-Vented Air Mask

      • Less Costly
      • No Concern of Failure
      • Exhaled Air Is Filtered As It Is Exhaled. Important If You Are Sick

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      What Is the Difference Between a Surgical Mask and a Respirator?

      There are many differences between a surgical mask and a respirator. A respirator must pass much more stringent testing requirements than a surgical mask and offer much higher grade filtering capability. Respirators like surgical masks are one size fits all so achieving a tight seal is difficult but much better than a surgical masks.

      Surgical masks were initially designed to prevent blood splatter and other fluids being passed to and from patients and medical attendants in operating rooms and during other medical procedures. Therefore the filtering capability of the filter fabric is less. Since they are disposable the quality of the noise piece, and ear straps is poor so a tight seal is nearly impossible to attain.

      StyleSEAL offers high quality filters AND a tight seal making it superior to respirators and surgical masks.

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      How Is The Air Quality Index (AQI) Determined And What Is Measured In the Reading?

      The purpose of the AQI is to help you understand what local air quality means to your health and to make it easier to understand.

      The AQI is an index for reporting daily air quality. It tells you how clean or polluted your air is, and what associated health effects might be a concern for you. The AQI focuses on health effects you may experience within a few hours or days after breathing polluted air. EPA calculates the AQI for five major air pollutants regulated by the Clean Air Act:

      • Ground-Level Ozone
      • Particle Pollution (Also Known As Particulate Matter),
      • Carbon Monoxide
      • Sulfur Dioxide
      • Nitrogen Dioxide

      For each of these pollutants, EPA has established national air quality standards to protect public health .Ground-level ozone and airborne particles are the two pollutants that pose the greatest threat to human health.

      Below is an example of the Air Quality Index in Paris:

      To learn more about the Air Quality Index go to: https://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=aqibasics.aqi

      How Do I Find The Air Quality Index Readings For My Area?

      We offer a link to the world Air Quality Index map on this website by clicking HERE.

      Locally the readings are often displayed in newspapers or local websites.

      The best way to know the air quality in your micro-environment is to use your own portable air quality meter daily.

      Another option is to download the AirVisual app by clicking HERE.

      What is PM 2.5 and PM 10?

      Particle pollution, also called particulate matter or PM, is a mixture of solids and liquid droplets floating in the air. Some particles are released directly from a specific source, while others form in complicated chemical reactions in the atmosphere.

      Particles come in a wide range of sizes. Particles less than or equal to 10 micrometers in diameter are so small that they can get into the lungs, potentially causing serious health problems. Ten micrometers is less than the width of a single human hair.

      Coarse dust particles (PM10) are 2.5 to 10 micrometers in diameter. Sources include crushing or grinding operations and dust stirred up by vehicles on roads.

      Fine particles (PM2.5) are 2.5 micrometers in diameter or smaller, and can only be seen with an electron microscope. Fine particles are produced from all types of combustion, including motor vehicles, power plants, residential wood burning, forest fires, agricultural burning, and some industrial processes. These particles can get deep into the lungs and cause serious health problems.

      What Does The AQI Mean To Me?

      Knowing the Air Quality Index reading is very important if you plan on reacting to the data. Merely knowing that your health is at risk isn’t much help. We can’t all just stay at home when the reading is poor. We don’t need to become ill unnecessarily or die sooner than we should so you need to react if the air quality in your area or micro-climate is poor.

      The first step to protect yourself is to know if the air quality is bad. If so then protect yourself and your family with an adequate level of filtration.

      The article below is describes exactly what the AQI means to you.

      According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the USA:

      “Health studies have shown a significant association between exposure to fine particles and premature death from heart or lung disease. Fine particles can aggravate heart and lung diseases and have been linked to effects such as: cardiovascular symptoms; cardiac arrhythmia’s; heart attacks; respiratory symptoms; asthma attacks; and bronchitis. These effects can result in increased hospital admissions, emergency room visits, absences from school or work, and restricted activity days. Individuals that may be particularly sensitive to fine particle exposure include people with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children”. http://www.epa.gov/airquality/particlepollution/designations/basicinfo.htm

      According to The Guardian: “Outdoor air pollution kills 3.3 million people, mostly in cities, every year. That’s more than HIV, malaria and influenza combined……. Read more at http://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/dec/02/where-world-most-polluted-city-air-pollution

      We don’t want to scare you but help you to be aware of the invisible hazards that potentially attack you daily if you do not protect yourself.

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      What Are The Most Polluted Cities In The US?

      According to the American Lung Association, California and the Northeastern states lead the way in this less than desirable category. However, you may be surprised to find where some of the others are. Click below to see the results:

      http://www.stateoftheair.org/2015/city-rankings/most-polluted-cities.html?referrer=https://www.google.co.th/?referrer=http://www.stateoftheair.org/2015/city-rankings/most-polluted-cities.html

      You may believe that that the USA has excellent air quality. That may be true in many rural areas but not necessarily true everywhere. Below is a map provided by Creative Methods of the US Air Quality Gradebook that shows in in-depth analysis of the air quality by city. Check your city to see where you stand. For the complete Gradebook data click HERE.

      There is good news for air quality in the US. The Image below provided by NASA (National Aeronautical Space Administration) shows the the reduction of nitrogen dioxide levels in the US declined from 2005 to 2011.

      Nitrogen dioxide is one of the six common pollutants regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect human health. Alone it can impact the respiratory system, but it also contributes to the formation of other pollutants including ground-level ozone and particulates, which also carry adverse health effects. The gas is produced primarily during the combustion of gasoline in vehicle engines and coal in power plants. It’s also a good proxy for the presence of air pollution in general.

      Air pollution has decreased even though population and the number of cars on the roads have increased. The shift is the result of regulations, technology improvements and economic changes, scientists say.

      In fact, about 142 million people still lived in areas in the United States with unhealthy levels of air pollution, according to the EPA. Also, high levels of air pollution remain an issue in many other parts of the world, according to the global view from satellites.

      “While our air quality has certainly improved over the last few decades, there is still work to do – ozone and particulate matter are still problems,” said Bryan Duncan, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

      For more information about this article from NASA click HERE.

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      What Are The Most Polluted Cities In The World?

      Clearly, or not so clearly, India, have the most polluted cities measured by particulate matter with China and Turkey not far behind. However, that doesn’t mean the other countries in Europe, the USA and elsewhere don’t have their battles with pollution. Fresno, CA USA comes in at #160. Review the lists below:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_polluted_cities_in_the_world_by_particulate_matter_concentration

      According to the World Health Organization, drawing on data collected between 2008 and 2013, the report listed the cities by the average amount of particulate matter in the air over the course of a year. When these tiny particles — smaller than 2.5 micrometers in diameter — are inhaled, they can settle into the lungs, increasing the long-term risk for lung cancer (each year, it’s estimated that they cause 800,000 deaths worldwide).

      In the new report, six of the top ten most polluted cities were in India, with Delhi leading the way. The figures show the average number of micrograms of these particles per cubic meter of air over the course of a year (for reference, the WHO considers 25 to be a safe limit):

      Apart from the six Indian cities (shown in yellow), three more cities on this list are in nearby Pakistan (shown in blue), with Iran’s Khoramabad the only city outside of South Asia in the top 10.

      The worst American city in the report was Fresno, California, followed by a few other cities in California. This fits with the findings of a recent American Lung Association report that showed California, as a whole, features the country’s worst air pollution.

      A variety of factors contribute to air pollution, but it’s mainly driven by the burning of gasoline, diesel, and coal for transportation and energy, along with other large-scale manufacturing processes.

      This pollution is mainly caused by the burning of gasoline, diesel, and coal.

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      Do Air Masks Protect Against Flu And Other Infectious Diseases?

      Good question!

      There have been countless tests, many of which inconclusive, about the benefit or lack thereof using masks in protecting against the spread of airborne infectious diseases. Unfortunately, many of the tests are inconclusive or lacked proper testing procedures for accurate results. Many of the tests are of random households not following strict guidelines. Also, the test were typically performed with those wearing surgical masks which are undoubtedly inferior in filtering capability as well as fit rather than higher quality products such as StyleSEAL.

      A small example of the conflicting nature of studies is illustrated below from the International Scientific Forum on Home Hygiene IFH Newsheet July 2009 (www.ifh-homehygiene.org)

      In another recent study Macintyre et al (Emerg Infect Dis 2009: http://www.cdc.gov/EID/content/15/2/233.htm) Report on a prospective cluster-randomised trial comparing surgical masks, non-fit-tested P2 masks, and no masks in prevention of influenza-like illness (ILI) in households in Australia. During the 2006 and 2007 winter seasons, 286 exposed adults from 143 households exposed to a child with clinical respiratory illness were recruited. Results showed no significant difference in the risk of ILI in the mask use groups compared with the control group; however, They argued, however, that if adherence were greater, as it might be during a pandemic, mask use might reduce transmission.

      In a follow-up editorial, Dr Macintyre stated “More work is needed to look at the effectiveness of masks specifically, to evaluate their effectiveness in other community and healthcare settings, and the factors limiting compliance with mask use. We estimate that the reduction in risk of catching a respiratory infection for an adult caring for a sick child, when they adhere to mask use, is between 60 and 80%”.

      There are proven steps that work in slowing the spread of airborne infectious diseases.

      1. Proper Hand Washing
      2. Cleanliness of Utensils
      3. Food and Water Hygiene
      4. Respiratory Hygiene
      5. Laundering Clothing and Household Linens
      6. Safe Disposal Of Human and Other Waste
      7. Avoidance of the Sick

      We all can easily do a better job of items 1 – 6

      Avoidance on the other hand, hopefully washed, is another issue. Even though we should stay at home when sick, many of us just can’t. We either can’t afford to miss work or are afraid of losing our jobs. Our children get sick and because of the same problem, and that many mothers are working too, the sick children get sent to school compounding the problem. Socially we need to get better in the workplace and at school in dealing with this issue.

      In our opinion, the next closest thing to avoidance is wearing an air mask that is sealed, properly filtered and maintained.

      If you wear an air mask:

      • You have a chance of filtering pathogens that can include both viruses and bacteria
      • You have a chance of containing your pathogens you could transmit by coughing, sneezing, laughing, or through personal contact if you have to go to work or school sick. You may not yet be showing the symptoms but you may be infectious beginning 1 day before symptoms develop.

      If you don’t wear an air mask:

      • You have NO chance of filtering pathogens that can include both viruses and bacteria.
      • You have NO chance of containing your pathogens you could transmit by coughing, sneezing, laughing, or through personal contact. It is very hard to completely cover your mouth and contain a cough or sneeze with your hand alone. If so, your hand now become the method of transmission.

      It is important to know that StyleSEAL, PENUMBRA and UMBRA are not medical devices and do not claim to prevent the spread or eliminate the risk of disease or illness.

      According to the USA Center for Disease Control (CDC):

      “People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.” http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/spread.htm.

      How Do I Clean My Air Mask?

      StyleSEAL masks are much easier and safer to clean than competitive fashionable fabric masks with non-replaceable filters

      • Remove Your Filters
      • Hand Washing In Soapy Water
      • Rinsing Thoroughly
      • Hang To Dry
      • Replace With a Clean New StyleSEAL Filter
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