Air pollution has hit a new high in the country since Diwali, and as Delhi air pollution and smog make headlines, the interest in anti-pollution masks is at a record level too. People are falling sick, having trouble breathing, or experiencing headaches, nausea, and discomfort because of the high air pollution levels.
There are a few things you can do to make the air at home better - we've talked about gadgets you can use, and some low cost methods to follow, but for now, buying air masks in India has become imperative for one and all to protect themselves from the effects of air pollution. However, buying just any air mask won't do. You need to know which air mask is good for you and which isn't going to be any help at all. Here's a list of the best air pollution masks you can consider buying, why they are useful to you, and where you can buy them.
N95 air masks
N95 air masks should be your minimum criterion while buying a mask to protect yourself from Delhi air pollution. Masks with N95 rating can filter up to 95 percent of the harmful PM2.5 particulate matter, which tends to stay longer in the air and is thus more likely to be inhaled.
When inhaled, PM2.5 can settle down in the nose, throat, lungs or even the circulatory system. A study says that PM2.5 can even lead to plaque deposit in arteries, which may cause hardening of arteries and subsequently indirectly cause a heart attack.
When buying a N95 air mask, look for models with air valves that can direct the exhaled air out via a dedicated passage, so there is no excess moisture and fogging near the nose-bridge and eyes. Among the recommended brands for N95 masks are 3M and Honeywell, both of which sell a pack of 10 N95 air masks at around Rs. 2,000. There are many different N95 masks available, but these are both easily available online, and come from well-established companies - so the quality of the product tends to be a little better.
N99 and N100 air masks
Air masks with N99 and N100 ratings are capable of filtering out PM2.5 airborne particulate matter with up to 99 percent, and 99.97 percent efficiency. However, like the N95 air masks, these are also not resistant to oil and oil-based pollutants. Brands like Vogmask, Cambridge, and SmartAir sell N99 air masks on e-commerce websites starting at around Rs.175 for a single piece. Once again, there are a lot of different options available, including cheaper "generics" but these seem to be the best in terms of customer experiences, when looking at things like durability and ease of use.
Finding N100 masks is much harder, and you may have to go to an industrial supplier to get your hands on one.
P95 and R95 air masks
The difference between P- and N-rated masks is that the former can also filter out oil-based pollutants to an extent, which cannot be removed by the latter. However, this makes P-rated air masks a lot more expensive than their N-rated counterparts, and they still have to be replaced frequently. The American National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) states that these should be used for 40 hours, or one month - whichever comes first. 3M P95 air masks are available in India via ColeParmer.in at Rs. 10,900 for a pack of 10 masks.
There are also R95 type air masks, which also filter out the oil-based pollutants, but these are really meant only for industrial use. These are only supposed to have a usable life of eight hours, and are pretty expensive, so it's not something you should consider for everyday usage.
Vogmask, 3M, and other good brands
Other than Vogmask, 3M, and Cambridge, popular brands you can look at while buying air masks in India are Totobobo and Respro, though they are a little difficult to get your hands on. If you are getting air masks imported from the US or Europe, then look for NIOSH or FFP ratings, respectively.
Best air mask prices in India
|Air pollution mask||Mask price in India||Size|
|3M 8210 N95 Mask and Respirator||Rs. 1,299 (for a pack of 20 masks)||Free-size|
|Honeywell PM2.5 Anti-Pollution Mask||Rs. 1,199 (for a pack of 5 masks)||Medium|
|Vogmask 8-bit N99 CV Mask||Rs. 2,000||Small, Medium, Large|
|Cambridge N99 The Po Standard Air Pollution Face Mask||Rs. 1,799||Small, Medium, Large, XL|
|SmartAir N99 Pollution Mask w/ Valve||Rs. 175||Free-size|
|3M Specialty Particulate Respirators (P95)||Rs. 10,900 (for a pack of 10 masks)||Free-size|
|Venus Masks CVN95 Mask and Respirator||Rs. 290 (single unit)||Free-size|