Respirators like the N95s are used all year round by construction workers, people working in healthcare, and also by the general public for protection against pollution. In the United States, there are only a handful of companies manufacturing N95 respirators for the country of which the most well-known are: Honeywell, Louis M Gerson Co., and 3M. Since the advent of N95 masks, other masks like the surgical mask and cloth masks are not being used as much as before in the concerned sectors. The reason this mask enjoys precedence over other masks has to do with its potent filtration capabilities.
Purpose of an N95
The N95 provides filtration of 95% against all airborne particulates except for oil. It also bears the approval of agencies like NIOSH and CDC. The World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends the use of N95 for healthcare workers during the coronavirus pandemic. However, when the pandemic began to spread in the US and other countries of the world, N95s had vanished from all marketplaces. When the news of the pandemic became international, people started hoarding any sort of PPE they could get their hands on and especially the N95 masks. The stature of this respirator during the pandemic season reached up to that of gold bars.
Scarcity and price gouging of N95s
Price gouging of these respirators became a norm and the lot that suffered the most because of this were the frontline workers. Manufacturers were not producing enough respirators to facilitate all hospitals across America. In addition to this, N95s were being sold at an unreasonably high price with reports suggesting that companies had increased the price of this respirator up-to 6 times. States were vying to acquire more of this PPE to ensure the safety of their frontline workers. The healthcare workers were in a state of anxiety as they were being asked to wear their N95s for an extended period which made them feel unsafe.
As of today, there have been more than 1.53 million deaths in the US caused by COVID-19. The virus is still prevalent and doesn’t appear to be subsiding anytime soon. Even though the shortage of N95 has now been controlled, for the most part, the prices are still fluctuating depending on the manufacturer and the model of the mask. It is also said that the more expensive an N95 is, the better is the mask. The following are some of the most efficient and expensive N95 models:
1- M 8511 Respirator, N95, Cool Flow Valve:
This N95 mask created by 3M is a mentionable mask. Approval by NIOSH and a filtration efficacy of 95% are the key features of this product. 3M is among the most well-known and reputable PPE manufacturers of America that are also operating in other countries. This mask is quite expensive but its quality and features make it a worthy buy. This 3M product includes a cool flow valve, adjustable M-nose clip, and Advanced Electret Media (AED) for ease of breathing. This product is a fusion of innovation and comfortability as it is also very easy to put on for longer hours.
2- 3M Aura Particulate Respirator N95
Another approved N95 respirator created by the American multinational conglomerate, 3M. This particular respirator is a part of the 3M Aura series and is relatively unique and different from other respirators as it is designed to reduce eyewear fogging. People who wear spectacles can now wear N95s without having to complain about how much their mask gets fogged. Apart from this, the respirator also includes the usual N95 features like the comfortable headbands and the cool flow valve.
3- Honeywell H801 N95 Dust Mask
Honeywell is another American multinational conglomerate dealing in PPE like N95s. This N95 product is appropriate for usage in pharmaceutical industries as it is a dust mask. This mask is available in white color only and since it’s an N95, this respirator is not resistant to oil.
4- 3M surgical respirator
This respirator, like the name suggests, is curated especially for all healthcare professionals. It combines the features of your typical N95 mask with a medical mask. It is available in deep blue color and is perfect for use in a healthcare setting.
The above mentioned N95 models are not only expensive but are also hard to acquire due to their high demand. These respirators are some of the best products offered by their respective manufacturers. They are all high in quality whilst also being durable and comfortable. The only down-side of these respirators may be their high price. Despite their high price, the mentions of this list are all worth buying because, in the long term, they will turn out to be an investment for you rather than an expense.
N95 filtering face-pieces are hard to procure at present and are also expensive. However, their filtration efficacy convinces everyone to invest in them. Before the pandemic began, the N95s were less expensive than they are right now but because of price gouging and shortage of this PPE, manufacturers have immensely increased the price of this product. The respirators mentioned in this article are recommended because of their reliability and innovative features. However, it should be noted that the availability of these respirators may vary based on country and location and their prices may also have fluctuated.