Can masks really filter the particulate matter as small as PM2.5?

Posted on February 3rd 2013

While discussing today about the faq entry on PM10 versus PM2.5 which I posted yesterday, my friend Klaus challenged on the usefulness of protection masks. He was actually wondering if the modern masks can nowadays really filter efficiently all the small harmful PM2.5 particulate matter?

Actually, this is a very good question! If you have to wear a mask in Beijing, then better to make sure that it really filters the bad particulates. Since I did not have the answer to his question, I just dropped an email to Francis Chu from the Singapore totobobo® mask manufacturing company, who replied in almost no time:
Yes, our Totobobo mask is able to cut down 99.85% of 0.1 microns particles.

You can download the lab report:

For the readers not familiar with particles size, PM10 refers to particles smaller than 10 micrometer, and for PM2.5, it refers to smaller than 2.5 micrometers. So, filtering out all the particulates smaller than "0.1 microns (same as 0.1 micrometers)", means that it can filter particles 25 times smaller than the harmful PM2.5! So, no worries Klaus, the newest technologies are definitely efficient!

For more information about particles size, you can refer to the wikipedia page. If you want to learn more about how air filters are actually tested, or how the various mask brands compare to each other, check this very informative totobobo blog entry.

And if you just want to get your own totobobo mask, click here.

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  • Kriging Interpolation

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    À propos de la qualité et de la mesure de la pollution atmosphérique:

    A propos des niveaux de qualité de l'air

    IQANiveau de pollution de l'air Impact sur la santé
    0 - 50BonLa qualité de l'air est jugée satisfaisante, et la pollution de l'air pose peu ou pas de risque.
    51 -100ModéréAir quality is acceptable; however, for some pollutants there may be a moderate health concern for a very small number of people who are unusually sensitive to air pollution.
    101-150Mauvais pour les groupes sensiblesLa qualité de l'air est acceptable; Cependant, pour certains polluants, il peut y avoir un problème de santé modérée pour un très petit nombre de personnes qui sont particulièrement sensibles à la pollution de l'air.
    151-200MauvaisTout le monde peut commencer à ressentir des effets sur la santé; les membres des groupes sensibles peuvent ressentir des effets de santé plus graves.
    201-300Très mauvaisAvertissements de santé de conditions d'urgence. Toute la population est plus susceptible d'être affecté.
    300+DangereuxAlerte de santé: tout le monde peut ressentir des effets de santé plus graves.

    Pour en savoir plus sur la qualité de l'air, consultez le sujet Qualité de l'air sur wikipedia ou le guide AirNow de la qualité de l'air et de votre santé .

    Pour des conseils de santé très utiles de Docteur Richard Saint Cyr, consultez le blog

    Usage Notice: All the Air Quality data are unvalidated at the time of publication, and due to quality assurance these data may be amended, without notice, at any time. The World Air Quality Index project has exercised all reasonable skill and care in compiling the contents of this information and under no circumstances will the World Air Quality Index project team or its agents be liable in contract, tort or otherwise for any loss, injury or damage arising directly or indirectly from the supply of this data.


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