The question of whether or not to wear masks has been put to bed. Masks have become omnipresent for the time being and it’s for our own best interest. But questions still linger about masks. Some are thought-provoking, and others more casual .. like “What are the most dope masks?” But the one our team is grappling with is being asked more and more often as masks turn to science. “Are carbon air filters safe?” And it’s not because they’re contemplating buying a home air filter. Masks with pm 2.5 carbon filter are a new rage. Everyone from athletes to social media stars seems to be posting pictures of these new-age face masks that are claimed to be the ultimate shield against pollutants and pathogens. But are they really? Let’s take a peek behind the labs to get the real picture.
What Are Activated Carbon Filters?
By now, you must have stumbled upon warnings saying “do not keep your disposable masks or filters on for too long”. One solution we seem to come across frequently these days is a carbon filter mask. But how are they any different? Activated carbon filters are not exactly a new invention, they’ve been used for years in air purifiers. These are woven with fine carbon that has been processed to become extremely porous. It is so permeable that only a single gram of this activated carbon can spread over 500 square meters. This is used for making pm2.5 carbon filters which are found to be one of the most effective ways to remove gases, chemical vapors, pollutants, odor molecules, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air.
Image courtesy: Airnex
These filters can block particles down to 2.5 microns in size. They can also block out viruses when contained in particles of saliva, salt, and proteins.
Can pm2.5 carbon filters block out germs and viruses?
Masks with activated carbon filters provide partial protection against airborne transmission of diseases by blocking out fine particulates from reaching your mouth. A quality mask with P.M. 2.5 carbon filter is highly effective against water droplets. Viruses transmitted on aerosol may be reduced, especially for larger viruses like COVID 19 (approximately 100 - 120 nm). It will not completely eliminate them. Dr. Krystal Pollitt - assistant professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health notes that because masks are generally more effective when they have more layers, a PM filter will add protection.
Note: Some masks can protect against virus transmission more than others. None of them can offer 100% protection. But it’s crucial that we wear them now - so we can enjoy a safe mask-free world tomorrow. Currently, vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against COVID-19.
Looking To Buy Carbon Filter Masks?
It’s tempting to go out there and grab the first ‘carbon filter mask’ you see. Relax. There are plenty of options. One easy option is to buy any quality mask with an additional filter pocket. Then search for ‘activated carbon mask filter’ on Amazon and there you have them. Read reviews, place your order, and Bob’s your uncle.
You can also get a copper mask like Tekto TAKTA. Along with the copper filter, use an additional pm2.5 carbon filter. Copper is proven to kill bacteria and viruses on contact. So you have 2X protection.