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    Home > Food News > Nutrition News > Studies have shown that N95 gas masks can effectively protect people from wildfire smoke

    Studies have shown that N95 gas masks can effectively protect people from wildfire smoke

    • Last Update: 2021-10-10
    • Source: Internet
    • Author: User
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    Picture: Researchers calculated the "protection factor" of each mask based on the mask's ability to filter particles and the amount of air that may leak
    .

    Source: Kodros et al.
    /GeoHealth

    N95 masks provide the best protection against wildfire smoke and other types of air pollution, and perform better than synthetic masks, cotton masks and surgical masks
    .

    Researchers conducted laboratory experiments to study the ability of different masks and respirators to filter out particles of various sizes in smoke and air pollution
    .
    They put different mask materials on a tube that can "inhale" air and particles in the plastic box

    .

    In laboratory experiments, n95 is very effective, and researchers estimate that their widespread use can reduce the number of hospitalizations due to wildfire smoke by 22% to 39%
    .
    The findings of this study can provide evidence-based recommendations to help people protect themselves during the wildfire season

    .

    The new research is published in the journal Earth Health, which investigates the intersection of humans and the health of the planet in order to achieve a sustainable future
    .

    Climate change has made wildfires in the western United States more frequent and intense, and the resulting smoke has caused damage to people’s health
    .
    Wildfire smoke contains tiny particles (PM2.
    5) less than 2.
    5 microns in diameter—about the size of a bacterium—that enter the lungs and are associated with a variety of health problems, including asthma, respiratory infections, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) Higher risk

    .

    During the coronavirus pandemic, masks have become second nature to many people, which makes some people wonder whether masks and respirators can also protect people from smoke and pollution
    .
    By definition, a respirator is a tight-fitting protective device that is sealed around the nose and mouth to filter the air in and out

    .
    Surgical masks are designed to capture droplets and particles produced by the wearer to prevent the spread of diseases

    .

    Jack Kodros, an atmospheric scientist at Colorado State University and the lead author of the new study, said: "People are asking, should we continue to use them at the beginning of the summer fire season?" There are not many guidelines on what masks can help alleviate wildfire smoke
    .
    "

    Kodros and his team measured the filtering effect of N95 masks, synthetic masks, cotton masks and surgical masks on air pollution particles
    .
    Then, by considering the ability of masks to filter particles, they calculated how much pollution each mask can reduce, and how much air the mask might leak when worn on the face

    .

    They found that n95 provides the best protection against wildfire smoke, reducing the amount of smoke that people are exposed to by 16 times
    .
    Synthetic masks and cotton masks do a poor job of filtering the particle size found in wildfire smoke, and can only reduce exposure by 2.
    2 and 1.
    4 times, respectively

    .
    Surgical masks can filter more than 90% of the particulate matter, but previous studies have shown that masks will allow 50% of the air to leak around the mask, which makes the effectiveness of the mask only at the level of synthetic fiber and cotton masks

    .

    n95 is the best at combating larger dust particles and urban air pollution.
    These particles come from automobile exhaust and are smaller than the particles in wildfire smoke

    .

    Reduce the number of people hospitalized due to wildfire smoke

    In the second part of the study, the researchers estimated the benefits of wearing masks for the entire population
    .
    They developed a model that took into account the proportion of people who might wear masks and the consistency of their wearing masks

    .
    They applied this model to the 2012 fire season in Washington State to see if wearing masks would change the number of people hospitalized with respiratory problems

    .

    The model shows that n95 can avoid about 30% of hospital visits due to wildfire smoke
    .
    Medical masks and synthetic masks will reduce the number of visits by 17% and 13%, respectively, while cotton masks will only reduce by 6%

    .

    Kodros emphasized that these mask recommendations are for air pollution and do not apply to the coronavirus
    .
    He said: “For COVID-19, you wear a mask to protect yourself and to reduce the droplets you release

    .
    ” During the current crisis, fabric masks have been proven to be effective for public health, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
    It is recommended to use a mask with two or more layers of fabric to make it close to the nose and mouth

    .

    Stephanie Holm, co-director of the Western States Pediatric environmental Health Specialty Unit, pediatrician, and environmental epidemiologist at the University of California, San Francisco (University of California, San Francisco) said At present, people have a lot of interest in the effect of different mask materials in filtering particulate matter, but there are also many confusions
    .
    She said: "I think this research fills a good gap.
    We are thinking about how to transform this filtered data into a real level of protection, and the real difference in health effects that we can see in the population

    .
    "

    Holm was not involved in this research, but she often advises families on how to protect themselves from wildfire smoke, and is happy to include this information in her recommendations
    .

     DOI

    10.
    1029/2021 gh000482

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