The COVID-19 pandemic has changed a lot of things during the last several months. Everyone is using face masks, which is a sight that still looks strange after over six months of wearing face coverings. By now, most of us are very familiarized with reusable and disposable face masks, and we know a lot about N95 masks.
N95 respirators have been a big topic of discussion since the beginning of the year. We know now that they’re the best face mask for virus protection, and that they’re scarce around the world. The United States has already experienced some shortages, and the most affected group of people are healthcare workers and first responders.
A lot of research has been going on to develop a reusable N95 mask or a way to clean disposable ones effectively. And, while there still aren't any options on the market, a lot of designs are being developed. Today, we want to focus on the SEEUS, a new type of N95 mask that has the potential to solve not only the problem of scarcity, but other issues as well.
SEEUS95: the first clear and self-adhering N95 mask
This new N95 mask has been dubbed SEEUS95 by its inventor, because of the main characteristic: it’s completely clear. The mask has a natural filter made with materials like bamboo, silk, silver, and carbon. These are all environmentally safe materials and are thought to be better not only for the environment, but to be more protective than regular N95 masks as well.
The creators behind SEEUS95 claim that this mask can ensure better protection than regular N95 masks made with non-woven polypropylene. The bamboo is thought to be stronger than steel, with natural anti-microbial properties by absorbing the moisture that carries the viruses in the air. The silk is also strong and has an electrostatic charge that helps to trap viruses. The nanosilver, known as AgNPs is effective in killing Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, while the active carbon acts pulling out toxins from the air.
According to the creators, the biggest inspiration for the design of this face mask was the fact that, for months, we haven’t seen each other’s faces. This involves the loss of social connection, which is intensified in deaf people and children. The creators state that we connect with others through our faces first, and that’s why they decided to make this new N95 mask clear, naming it SEE US 95.
Another big characteristic of this mask is that it’s earloop and headband-free. The self-adhering property of this N95 mask makes it more comfortable, and it’s safe on the skin by using chitosan, a natural biopolymer that is used to heal the skin in burn victims, hip replacements, and other cosmetic procedures.
One of the main concerns about this face mask is the condensation when temperatures are too high in the environment, as the mask is clear and it can be uncomfortable if it gets foggy. SEEUS95 has an anti-fog coating on the inside surface of the mask that prevents this from happening. The creators also recommend wiping the inside of the mask with alcohol before using the mask, as it also helps reduce condensation.
The mask is still raising funds to be produced and put out on the market. In the meantime, you can check out their website where they have a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section and clear all your doubts.
What are N95 masks?
N95 masks are a type of respirator according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). This institution is in charge of preventing work-related illnesses or injuries in the USA, and they regulate respirators intended to be used in work settings where respiratory hazards are present.
NIOSH has a rating system in which they classify respirators according to their resistance to oil and minimum particulate filtration efficacy. N95 means the respirator is not resistant to oil, indicated by the letter N, and can filter out at least 95% of all airborne particles, indicated by the number 95.
N95 masks are used in many industries, like mining or construction, since they can filter out particles like smoke and dust. They’re also capable of filtering out bioaerosols, like the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, or viruses like the flu or the coronavirus. Right now, N95 masks are extremely important, since they have more antiviral properties than surgical or medical masks.
For this reason, authorities like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been urging the general public to use other types of face coverings and leave the medical-grade face masks to the first responders.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, people began to buy items like KN95 masks, face shields, and other types of disposable face masks in bulk and wholesale, and shortages quickly became a problem around the country. But, the main cause for this situation isn’t the fact that the general public is buying these medical-grade masks, but the fact that their production is not covering the needs of the world population.
Non-woven material, the raw product with which the masks are made, has been scarce since the pandemic began to hit the world. This material is the most important part of the mask because it’s the part that filters out the particles, but it’s also very difficult to make, and there aren’t enough production plants to cover the world’s need. So, hopefully, this new way of manufacturing N95 masks can be a solution to this problem.
Remember that anyone who uses the correct respiratory protection is doing their part in helping during these difficult times. There are plenty of options for sale online, including 3M N95 masks like the 3M 8511 and 3M 8210 models, and even masks in a smaller size for kids. Stay safe!