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Old 04-29-2009, 09:03 PM   #1
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Default Face Mask Caution

I've been getting some hard lessons about masks today and although I don't have it all figured out, here is what I think I know.

"N95" by itself is a meaningless designation. There are many N95 masks by different manufacturers made for different purposes, most of them industrial, and not much good for what we need.

I have in my hand a 3M 1860 N95 Particulate Respirator and Surgical mask specified to filter particles down to 0.3 micron. I don't know if that would filter the virus we are concerned about, but if anything would this is it.

So, if you have something else it may be relatively ineffective. I would welcome any one more knowledgable to show me wrong on this, Please Do So!

Otherwise be forewarned.

Also, it looks like this mask is sold out everywhere.

OH
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:18 PM   #2
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Default Learning more

One of the links offered on N95 masks was

http://beprepared.com/product.asp?pn...2=12410569 28

This doesn't say which Medline N95 mask it is. I had to enlarge the picture to get the Medline number, NON24506. BTW these are back ordered and they expect some in by Friday.

Googling that, the best description I found is

http://www.medicalsuppliesexpert.com...espirator.html

The Medline Prohibit® Adjustable N95 Particulate Respirator is N95 approved and meets NIOSH and CDC guidelines for TB exposure. Positive Facial Lock allows for custom fitting; one size mask fits all. Micro filter medium protects against micron-size particles. All respirators must be selected, fitted and maintained in accordance with OSHA and other applicable regulations.

The NON24506 is the Large model. The NON24507 is small/regular. Obviously size is important and there are no directions for measuring your face.

These might be of some help, at least would keep large gobs of spit away from mouth and nose.

But, apparently these are still available if you can figure out which size to get.

OH
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:36 PM   #3
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I don't think the 3M 1860 is sold out at Masks and More yet, but I did see it is sold out on other sites. This is the kind I stocked up on in 2005. The 1960 seems to fit everyone in our house well.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:42 PM   #4
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I just ordered 60 of those.

I already had 150 of the Sultan Com Fit flat surgical masks, which is what I have been wearing for the last few days. They are fairly comfortable, and are fluid resistant. There is a stiff formable twist-tie-like thing along the top edge of the mask you can mold to your nose so you get a good seal.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:42 PM   #5
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NIOSH N95 is supposed to be the same everywhere.

Now, there are "nuisance masks" that LOOK like N95 but aren't marked as such.
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Old 04-29-2009, 10:43 PM   #6
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Spend the extra coin and get the ones with exhale vales.
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Old 04-30-2009, 03:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Potemkin View Post
NIOSH N95 is supposed to be the same everywhere.

Now, there are "nuisance masks" that LOOK like N95 but aren't marked as such.
Not so. All the N95 are NIOSH rated for something. MY SIL showed me 2 catalogs of just 3M N95's with lots of separate numbers for grinding, welding, etc. etc. None of them were for medical or biological protection.

Of those that are there are many different purposes and levels.

N95 by itself means nothing.
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Old 04-30-2009, 03:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by drummagick View Post
I don't think the 3M 1860 is sold out at Masks and More yet, but I did see it is sold out on other sites. This is the kind I stocked up on in 2005. The 1960 seems to fit everyone in our house well.
You are right Drum, they show them in stock. $17.25/box of 20.

http://www.masksnmore.com/3m18n95hecam1.html

OK, these are 0.3 micron filters. What size is our virus?

OH
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Old 04-30-2009, 03:30 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Potemkin View Post
Spend the extra coin and get the ones with exhale vales.
The exhale valve makes for easier breathing. Many masks have exhale valves but are not suitable for medical or bio protection.

OH
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Old 04-30-2009, 12:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Hawk View Post
The exhale valve makes for easier breathing. Many masks have exhale valves but are not suitable for medical or bio protection.

OH
Exhale valve masks are not a generic solution.

Good for medical professionals who are NOT sick.

Bad for patients who are sick.

I think we have to call a draw on this one.
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Old 04-30-2009, 12:27 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Hawk View Post
Not so. All the N95 are NIOSH rated for something. MY SIL showed me 2 catalogs of just 3M N95's with lots of separate numbers for grinding, welding, etc. etc. None of them were for medical or biological protection.

Of those that are there are many different purposes and levels.

N95 by itself means nothing.

Believe NIOSH? All are approved to protect against disease spread through air.

All approved N95 masks here: http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topic.../n95list1.html

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topic...ors/disp_part/

Quote:
NIOSH-Approved Disposable Particulate Respirators (Filtering Facepieces)


Recent CDC infection control guidance documents provide recommendations that healthcare workers protect themselves from diseases potentially spread through the air (such as SARS or tuberculosis) by wearing a fit tested respirator at least as protective as a NIOSH-approved N95 respirator.

An N95 respirator is one of nine types of disposable particulate respirators. Particulate respirators are also known as "air-purifying respirators" because they protect by filtering particles out of the air you breathe. Workers can wear any one of the particulate respirators for protection against diseases spread through the air - if they are NIOSH approved and if they have been properly fit tested and maintained. NIOSH-approved disposable respirators are marked with the manufacturer's name, the part number (P/N), the protection provided by the filter (e.g. N95), and "NIOSH."

Select a type of disposable particulate respirator (filtering facepiece) to view a list of manufacturers/suppliers and model numbers:
Type Description
N95 Filters at least 95% of airborne particles. Not resistant to oil.
N99 Filters at least 99% of airborne particles. Not resistant to oil.
N100 Filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles. Not resistant to oil.
R95 Filters at least 95% of airborne particles. Somewhat resistant to oil.
R99* Filters at least 99% of airborne particles. Somewhat resistant to oil.
R100* Filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles. Somewhat resistant to oil.
P95 Filters at least 95% of airborne particles. Strongly resistant to oil.
P99* Filters at least 99% of airborne particles. Strongly resistant to oil.
P100 Filters at least 99.97% of airborne particles. Strongly resistant to oil.

* No NIOSH approvals are held by this type of disposable particulate respirator.
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Old 04-30-2009, 02:29 PM   #12
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The statement you quoted does not say that all N95 masks are created equal or will protect you equally. Take for example these two 3M N95 filters: And

3m 8210

This 3M N95 General Industrial Respirator is economical while offering excellent protection. Features a light weight construction and adjustable nose clip. N95 respirators and masks are designed to help provide quality, reliable protection against certain particles generated during sanding, sweeping or other dusty operations.

3M 8212

3M 8212 N95 Disposable Particulate Respirator recommended for welding, brazing, metal pouring and cutting. The 3M™ 8212 N95 particulate respirator is designed for applications such as welding, soldering and other applicaations where metal fumes are likely present. NIOSH approved with at least a 95% filtration efficiency rating against solid and liquid aerosols that do not contain oil.

And compare to this 3m N95 filter that is made specifically for our purpose:

3M8612F (N95)

The 3M™ Particulate Respirator 8612F, For Use by the General Public in Public Health Medical Emergencies is a filtering facepiece respirator device. It is intended to cover the nose and mouth of the wearer to help reduce wearer exposure to airborne germs during public health medical emergencies, such as influenza pandemic. It is not intended for any other use. This fluid resistant respirator also helps protect the wearer from splash and spray of body fluids.


3M's telephone line says that suitable N95's will be labeled "For use by the General Public in Public Health Medical Emergencies"

Going to your referenced link…….

http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/npptl/topic.../n95list1.html

At the top of the page please read:

There are some products that are approved by NIOSH as an N95 respirator and also cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a surgical mask. These products are referred to as “Surgical N95 Respirators” and are indicated with the Model Number/Product Line and Approval Number appearing in a RED FONT.

Take for example the 3M 1860, NIOSH certified tested against a 0.3 micron particle (mass median aerodynamic diameter) per 42 CFR 84 and fluid resistant.

For our family we are getting N95's that meet this last specification and that will include all the red font listings on the page. Or, those that meet the description "For Use by the General Public in Public Health Medical Emergencies is a filtering facepiece respirator device. It is intended to cover the nose and mouth of the wearer to help reduce wearer exposure to airborne germs during public health medical emergencies, such as influenza pandemic. It is not intended for any other use. This fluid resistant respirator also helps protect the wearer from splash and spray of body fluids."

But if a dust filter is suitable for one's needs, they are still on the shelves of many hardware stores and lawnmower outlets. I have no disagreement with that.


OH






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Old 04-30-2009, 03:33 PM   #13
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Pote I surely do think any N95 is better than no N95. It is possible that the higher standard won't make a lot of difference with the virus anyway. It's all a matter of percentages.

The say for proper fitting a man must shave every day and I haven't shaved for 40 years. Think I'll just pull my beard up over my face and tie it to my eyebrows.

OH
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Old 04-30-2009, 03:38 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Hawk View Post
You are right Drum, they show them in stock. $17.25/box of 20.

http://www.masksnmore.com/3m18n95hecam1.html

OK, these are 0.3 micron filters. What size is our virus?

OH

They're not in stock now. Masks and More looks like they're out of a lot of the N95s. I just made a post on the other thread, where to get masks.
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Old 04-30-2009, 06:16 PM   #15
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We got the masks with the exhale valves, after our experience with sanding and refinishing the floors in the house before we moved in. If you wear glasses, and both of us do, then the masks without the valves will fog glasses with every exhaled breath. More than a nuisance, believe me.

Also, men with beards, like DH and OH, don't have to clean shave their entire face. Just shave where the edges of the mask are on the face, so you get a good close fit. Might look a tad funny and if so, then a full shave might make sense. Neither DH nor I have any idea what he looks like under his beard!
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Old 04-30-2009, 07:07 PM   #16
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sh:
Quote:
"We got the masks with the exhale valves, after our experience with sanding and refinishing the floors in the house before we moved in. If you wear glasses, and both of us do, then the masks without the valves will fog glasses with every exhaled breath. More than a nuisance, believe me."
I am wearing a Sultan ComFit N95 surgical mask right now with reading glasses, and have been all day. It is not bad at all so far as fogging. But then, I am sitting at a desk testing cellphones, not busting my hump refinishing floors.
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Old 05-01-2009, 10:08 AM   #17
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I do OK with my exhale valve N95s w/glasses. However the models I have tend to put the valve further down the mask instead of right in the center.

Secondly, I tend to have more fogging with N95 w/o valves. My exhale leak tends to be around the folds of the nose back onto the glasses.

And yea, I am not humping it sanding floors either.
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Old 05-01-2009, 02:22 PM   #18
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Wearing the no valve masks while sanding and refinishing the floors was true misery for both of us. We got a pack with a valve and the change was dramatic. Seeing how much dust collected on either mask tho was plenty to keep us wearing them no matter the misery level. Far better fogged glasses with each breath than breathing ALL that DUST.

I'd never refinished floors before and will be delighted happy if I don't ever again. But oh, are these floors ever beautiful!!!! It was worth all we endured for this one time.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:08 PM   #19
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OK, stupid question and my first post, long time lurker.
I have 3 cases of 3M N100 respirators but can find no information. I figure if anyone will know, it's you guys.

Oh, and hello by the way!
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:10 PM   #20
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Geez. Helps to ask the question!
Does anyone know how long one can use a mask before replacing?
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:25 PM   #21
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Welcome to This Blue Marble, rolanda.

Surgeons and nurses wear face masks for hours in the operating room. But they never re-use them. Once you take them off, whatever germs are on one side will infect the other side. So it's best to put your PPE in a plastic bag and dispose of all of it.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:34 PM   #22
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Thank you! I'm really scared by the way. H1N1 snuck right up on me, and while I'm perhaps a bit more ready than some, I have a long way to go. Masks are from my bird flu freakout.
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:45 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolanda View Post
OK, stupid question and my first post, long time lurker.
I have 3 cases of 3M N100 respirators but can find no information. I figure if anyone will know, it's you guys.

Oh, and hello by the way!
Hello and welcome Rolanda.

Wow, you have the best of the best and most expensive.

Here is the 3m page on it.

http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3...glRD2297LTN6bl

OH
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Old 05-01-2009, 03:51 PM   #24
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Fear is Nature's way of forcing us to protect ourselves. Our motto is: Be prepared, not scared. We don't sit there like some dumb bunny waiting for the sky to fall. We hop under a table and watch the show from a safe place.

In 1918 98% of the people who caught the Spanish Influenza survived. Now we face another H1N1 pandemic. Chances are it will not be as bad. In fact, so far, it does seem mild. Hundreds, if not thousands are ill, yet we're not counting up deaths all over the country. This is a good thing.

Nevertheless, we are watching this virus VERY closely. It was pretty nasty down in Mexico. Flu strains mutate. It's the nature of the beast. Maybe the reason why it is not as bad in the rest of the world is, it is mutating and fizzling out... but it could go the other way too. In that case, we're ready to avoid contamination by sheltering in place, and having the proper protective gear if we absolutely must go out.

You're off to a good start. Relax.
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:23 PM   #25
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Default NPR: Do Facemasks Protect From Flu?

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...ryId=103789700

Do Facemasks Protect From Flu?
by Allison Aubrey

All Things Considered, May 4, 2009 · Are Face Masks Worth the Fuss?

Masks are not a foolproof way to prevent the spread of flu bugs. And the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it has a lot to learn about the potential effectiveness of masks in controlling swine flu. But as a precaution, experts say the masks make sense for certain groups: People who are sick; and health care workers who are most likely to come in close contact with infected people.

To get a sense of the hassle factor involved in wearing a mask, we asked NPR staffer Gabe O'Connor, a production assistant at All Things Considered to wear one for the day. "This could be awkward !" he said as he donned an N95 respirator mask bought in the paint department of a local hardware store.

Getting The Right Fit

There are a few tricks to wearing a respirator mask. "Putting a mask on properly is really important," says Urvashi Rangan, a technical expert with Consumer Reports. "You have to make sure the straps are on securely. "

Following the advice isn't as easy as it sounds. One study found that only 25 percent of volunteers enrolled in a mask-wearing experiment were able to don the masks properly. "There were a couple of errors that were very common," says Kristin Cummings, of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). "One was not tightening up the nose clip," she says. That's the metal strip at the top of the mask that should be adjusted to fit the contour of your nose.

Another mistake: 22 percent of people put the mask on upside down.

Your Own Jungle

Another study of mask-wearing during a flu outbreak found that only 20 percent of participants could keep their masks on.

"It's really, really hot," says Gabe O'Connor, after wearing the mask for a few hours. He said it felt like he was in a jungle, breathing in hot, humid air. It also hampered communication.

"I have to repeat myself," he said O'Connor. And he didn't want to go talk to his editor about the story he was writing, because he felt like he sounded like garbled voices of the grown-ups in the Peanuts comic strip.

The Signal: Stay Away

O'Connor says when you're wearing a mask, people will keep their distance from you. He realized that when a few colleagues politely declined to join him for coffee this morning.

If the threat of contracting H1N1 were higher — if there were a critical mass of people ill — O'Connor says he can see that masks would be very effective in the effort to enforce social distancing. "No one comes within six feet," he says.

CDC Guidance

The CDC says it does not know if masks can prevent the spread of this new H1N1 virus. "It is difficult to assess their potential effectiveness," states an interim recommendation.

Experts say it can't hurt to wear one. If nothing else, it keeps you from touching your mouth and nose. "These are two great areas where this virus — or any virus — can gain access to your body," says Dr. Gwen Huitt, an infectious disease expert with the National Jewish Health in Denver, Colo.

Experts say masks are no replacement for good hygiene. As everyone has heard a lot recently, Huitt says we all need to remember to wash hands frequently, and, of course, cover your cough.

Facemask Or Respirator?

So far, no studies have proven that facemasks or respirators can prevent influenza transmission. However, both can provide some protection. Sick people can limit the spread of germs by wearing facemasks. And respirators can prevent inhalation of airborne flu particles when worn properly.

Which One?

— Facemasks are loose-fitting, disposable masks that cover the nose and mouth. They are designed to prevent the wearer from spreading potentially contaminated airborne particles to people. Facemasks are not designed to protect the wearer from breathing in airborne particles, like the flu.

— Respirators are designed to protect the wearer from breathing in very small particles, which might contain viruses. They fit tightly to the face so that most of the air is inhaled through the filter material.

Flu Protection?

— If worn properly, the N95 respirator is designed to keep out airborne particles far smaller than the flu. It's been tested and shown to have 95 percent efficiency at blocking particles 0.3 microns and greater in size, says Kristin Cummings a medical officer at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Flu particles are transmitted primarily by virus-laden large droplets, particles ranging from 2 to 10 microns in diameter, according to the CDC.

— Wearing a respirator does help protect you from breathing in contaminated air, but it's not a guarantee. You can also get the flu by touching contaminated surfaces, and then touching your hands to your mouth and nose. Handwashing with soap and water — for at least 20 seconds — is still very important.

User Error

— A recent study by NIOSH and the CDC of respirator-use to protect against mold in New Orleans found that only 24 percent of 538 people surveyed correctly put on the respirators. Here, CDC instructions on how to put on a respirator.

— Like facemasks, N95 respirators should be worn only once and then thrown away in the trash.

Where do I find a respirator?

— You can find disposable respirators at hardware, medical supply and home improvement stores or online. NIOSH has a list of N95 respirator manufacturers that are certified and available to public. — Kathleen Masterson
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