Do face masks reduce your exposure to air pollution?

Many kinds of research show that the bad impact of air pollution can harm your lungs, heart, and even your brain. An estimated worldwide report says that more than 3 million deaths all over the world is caused due to outdoor air pollution. Many countries have started taking strong actions on reducing air pollutions and forming various laws that can help in decreasing air pollution. It takes a larger time to implement the policies that are implemented by the governments to improve air quality due to which many people have already started the use of masks or other devices to reduce the risk of pollution.

Risk and risks reduction:

“Health is not valued till sickness comes,” said Thomas Fuller, an English churchman and historian. Thomas Fuller is remembered for his writings, particularly his Worthies of England, published in 1662, after his death. Thomas Fuller was a prolific author, and one of the first English writers able to live by his pen.

Air pollution is the mixture of tiny particles and gases. If we talk about gases, it can include nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and chemicals like volatile organic compounds. All these gases are harmful to the human body, but doctors suggest that we should be more precautious about the tiny particles that come with the air that are smaller than 2.5 microns in size. The ability to reduce the exposure of pollution depends upon the type of pollutant, the mask, and how to use it.

Well, masks are assigned through their protection factors. The protection factor shows the percentage of a pollutant that a mask does not remove.

Let’s take an example- if the protection factor of a mask is 10 that means only 10% of the pollutant is filtered by the mask.

If we talk about removing dust particles then using a paper dust mask is useless but you can make use of N95 masks that are effective for preventing particles of size 2.5 microns. But N95 cannot prevent harmful gases unless you don’t include features such as activated charcoal in the mask.

Consideration and limitations:

Many people feel uncomfortable in wearing a mask because it can cause difficulties in breathing and also they can feel claustrophobic.

A mask can be helpful when it is a tight fit to your face and mouth and it forms a good seal around your face. The main exposure to air pollution is only when you are going outside, so if you wear the right mask that can filter the tiny particles of pollutants and the gases altogether, it can reduce the harm of pollution on your body.

UV light mask is one of the best masks right now in the market that can prevent you from any type of harmful gases and it is more effective if you use it for the prevention of air pollution. The UV masks come with double filtration and also include UV light to disinfect the tiny particles and provide you clean air to your lungs.

So, yes face masks can reduce your exposure to air pollution, if you get the right mask and wore it correctly.