What's the Best Face Mask and Filter for Wildfire Smoke?
You may have heard the news: a face covering isn't going to protect you against wildfire smoke. Well, we're here to tell you this isn't true, at least not as a blanket statement. Many of the pm2.5 masks people are wearing for COVID-19 are actually made specifically to filter out smoke and air pollution.
Cloth face masks with pm2.5 filters are regulated in many Asian countries under a set of specifications known as the GB/T 32610 standard. Many particulate masks on the market, including all of Puraka's Made-in-the-USA Essential Masks, are manufactured under this standard, which means they are effective at filtering about 90% of airborne particulates. This includes the most harmful type called pm2.5, which is caused by wildfire smoke.
On the other hand, there are some cases where it's true that masks don't really help. You pop into your local pharmacy looking for something to protect your lungs from the smoke hanging in the air, and see the shelves have been stocked with bandanas and hospital masks. Are they going to do you any good? Probably not.
Here’s why a fitted cotton mask with a PM2.5 filter is the best smoke mask keep you safe from the health effects of wildfire smoke.
Fuss-free and allergy free
PM2.5 filters, which are the best mask filters for smoke, together with cotton masks are free of latex silicone, and PVC, making them a great option for those people who have sensitivities to such materials. Why risk exposing yourself to the same kind of toxicity you are trying to filter out? When you add a new filter, taking one from a package means you don't have to fuss with disinfecting them before use.
“Fashion-forward" respirators made from futuristic foams and molded synthetic material might offer decent protection, but they get uncomfortable with daily use (there's a reason Bruce Wayne kept that five-o-clock shadow) and can quickly become unsanitary.
Packaged for hygiene and convenience
In addition to the good hygiene of utilizing a fresh product, because individual pm2.5 filters can be thrown away after one or two uses, you don't have to worry about bacterial build-up like you do with masks utilizing so-called "permanent" filters. High quality disposable pm2.5 filters are bagged individually, are compact, and fold easily for a pocket or a bag.
Fitted to the Face
A flat pm2.5 filter is thin and lightweight in construction, containing layers of filtering materials, and a soft inner layer of activated charcoal for extra protection. Available in both children and adult sizes, they adapt to the contours of your face without restricting air flow... a big plus for children, seniors, and other sensitive groups, since your lungs don't have to work significantly harder to pull in air (this is the reason most experts don't recommend using industrial-grade n95 respirators for wildfire smoke).
The filtering effectiveness of N95-equivalent PM2.5 filters has been tested rigorously , more than any other filter for pollution protection. Paired with a properly-fitted cotton respirator mask, they can reduce the transfer of airborne particulate pollution by an average of 90%, ideal for reducing the pollution level of smokey air down to a healthy level... without putting excessive strain on your lungs. (See how we calculate mask performance efficiency against smoke pollution).
TL:DR - The purpose of cotton particulate masks with pm2.5 filters is to keep you from being exposed to air which has been contaminated by microscopic smoke, dust, and other forms of pm2.5 pollution. A soft cotton mask with a disposable filter will stay fresh and will build up less harmful bacteria over time, providing long-term, effective protection. Learn More.