Eco Friendly | Face masks | Should we use N95 masks?

Eco-Friendly series : article 1

In these times of concern, the COVID 19 pandemic is coursing over the plethora of topographies not even sparing the savannahs of Africa where electricity one of man's most priced discovery that connects the world has yet not made the breakthrough we await but the darned virus seems to be creating havoc with its first appearance. Nevertheless, precaution preceding the preference over cure leads us to our concerns of the moment; The Mask.

The piece of material covering half of our face now gives us the same assurance as that of armor on the back of a soldier in a war, well that may be a bit of an exaggeration if the context is you going to pick up your Amazon delivery but for the workers on the frontline battling the pandemic, it's no joke. So let's take a pledge to LEAVE THE N95 FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT, I'm talking about the doctors, nurses, patients and for those who reside in areas marked as red zones.


Let's talk about the N95's and how they work.

The filtration media of the N95 is designed to capture around 95% of particles measuring a median of 0.3µm. Now those of curious birdies may ask if the mask captures viruses with a smaller median, not to compare sizes but in the name of science I'll render it a valid question and for this, let's take a science class and talk about the Brownian motion. This phenomenon talk's about the erratic random movement of microscopic particles in a fluid, due to which continuous bombardment from molecules of the surrounding medium. Nanoparticles mainly travel by Brownian motion and are effectively captured with the N95 filters via the mechanical and electrostatic forces coupled with hydrophobic finishing avoid rapid moistening of the mask and droplet infection of others while coughing, sneezing or talking.

Moving to the innovation department

Here let's take into account that humans don't stick to linear solutions and by that I mean the re-usable and re-processable possibilities didn't stop us from thinking about the biodegradability of the N95's. The researchers at UBC have developed a biodegradable mask that is currently being made in Canada and the design uses local wood fiber in its attempts.

That now brings us to the alternatives that we can get our hands-on. While buying these masks make sure of a few things, namely:

  • good filtration

  • hydrophobic finishing

  • good fit

  • breathability

Now there are many producers distributing masks for the general mass but staying in sync with our mission to be eco friendly it's important to be aware that during mass production the usage of substitute plastic and petroleum-derived plastic is a common observation but few manufacturers try their best to avoid usage of these materials like the researches at TBM who have gone the extra mile to come up with a revolutionary material called LIMEX that could prove to be an environmentally and economically viable substitute to plastic. Not to miss out on the DIY and homemade masks that are currently taking up a considerable percentage of the mask sales and sure comes handy for a daily user.

Coming to the productive of view, it is an amazing portal for the common folk at home to earn a few peas during the lockdown and with people getting creative and surprisingly effective with the filtration system by introducing the old coffee filters making it cost-efficient and it's this unique thinking that makes it interesting to see what comes next.

In conclusion, the current scenario has compelled us to take up measures of precautions and the mask has been the most compatible solution for the essential and the frontline workers.

Stay home and stay safe.

References - TBM for LIMEX masks

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