Haze is Back: Here’s How to Protect Yourself With N95 Respirators

The haze is back and that doesn’t spell good news for us. According to the Department of Environment’s (DOE) website, the Air Pollutant Index readings (API) for Kuching, Sarawak at 5pm on Monday, August 20 was at an unhealthy level of 102.

Despite these unhealthy levels, there is still a lack of urgency for precaution which prevails within members of the
public.

Haze periods should not be taken lightly as it can be fatal. World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that around 7 million people die every year from exposure to fine particles in polluted air that penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system.

As such, it is important for Malaysians to understand the appropriate precautionary measures to take into consideration against haze.

N95 Respirators as the Most Appropriate Protection Against Haze

3M 8210 N95 Particulate RespiratorThe use of a respirator plays a significant role as it serves to be a protective device worn to reduce the wearer’s risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles.

N95 respirators have been tested and certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) USA to be at least 95% efficient when tested against very fine particles that are the most difficult to filter – approximately 0.3 microns.

The N95 respirators as advised by the Ministry of Health (MOH), should be used when the Air Pollutant Index (API) reading reaches 101 and above, which is unhealthy.

When the API reaches 201 and above, it is considered as very unhealthy, avoid being outdoors and ensure that we are constantly equipped with an N95 respirator.

The Difference of an N95 Respirator From a Medical, Surgical, or Patient Care Mask

The primary design purpose of a medical, surgical, or patient care mask is to filter or redirect particles expelled by the wearer, or in simpler terms, to prevent larger particles from being expelled by the wearer into the environment.

These masks are also not necessarily designed to provide a good seal to the face with most of them open on the sides, therefore allowing air leakage around the edges.

The primary design purpose of a respirator on the other hand, is to reduce the exposure of the wearer to airborne hazards. A NIOSH-approved respirator can also be designed to have the characteristics of both a surgical mask and an approved respirator.

In addition, respirators are designed to fit tightly to the face and create a seal between the face and the
respirator.

It is important to note that N95 respirators will only work when fitted properly. People with chronic respiratory, cardiac or other medical conditions should also seek the advice of their healthcare provider before using an N95 respirator as it may require more effort to breathe.

3M N95 masks are available at outlets such as Homepro, BIG Supermarket, Village Grocer, Homefix, Tesco, Guardian, Caring Pharmacy and hardware stores. Alternatively, consumers can also call us directly at 3M Malaysia for our distributor contacts or purchase the N95 masks online at Lmall or at Lazada.

The price range for N95 products is set at about RM4-RM12 per piece depending on the models, whether it comes with an exhalation valve for comfort, foldability, etc.

For more information about availability, proper respirator selection or use, please visit http://www.3M.com.my/ppe or call 3M Malaysia at 03-7884 2888.

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