The N95 respirator is a respiratory safety system designed to achieve a very near facial fit and to remove airborne particles very effectively. Notice that the edges of the respirator are designed around the nose and mouth to form a seal.
The similarities between surgical and N95s are:
- They are thoroughly tested for fluid-resistance, the efficiency of particulate filtration and bacterial filtration, flammability, and biocompatibility.
- It is not appropriate to share or reuse them.
N95 Respirator Rules
- Before using an N95 respirator, individuals with chronic respiratory, cardiac, or other medical conditions that render breathing difficult should consult with their health care provider because the N95 respirator will render breathing more difficult for the wearer.
- Some models have exhalation valves that can make it simpler to breathe out and help minimize the build-up of heat. Notice that when sterile conditions are required, N95 respirators with exhalation valves should not be used.
- As "single-use," disposable products, all FDA-cleared N95 respirators are numbered. You should remove the respirator, dispose of it correctly, and replace it with a new one if your respirator is damaged or soiled, or if breathing becomes difficult. Place it in a plastic bag to securely discard your N95 respirator and throw it in the trash. After handling the used respirator, wash your face.
- N95 respirators are not intended for people with facial hair or infants. Because children and people with facial hair can not get a proper fit, the N95 respirator may not provide full protection.
Masks, once restricted to particular occupations, are fast becoming ubiquitous during the coronavirus pandemic.
All masks are not the same. Filtering facepiece respirators are governed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, also referred to as N95 masks.
Honeywell has expanded production at several facilities globally to help meet the increasing demand for these masks and other alternatives.
Here is a rundown of what an N95 mask is:
N: This is a Letter Class Ranking Respirator. It stands for "Non-Oil," meaning that you can use the mask in the work environment if no oil-based particles are present. R (resistant to oil for 8 hours) and P (oil proof) are the other mask ratings.
95: The productivity of masks ending in 95 is 95 percent. Masks ending at 99 have an efficiency of 99 percent. 99.97 percent effective are masks ending in 100 and that is the same as a filter of HEPA efficiency.
.3 microns: Pollutants such as dust, mist, and gases are filtered out by masks. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC), the minimum size of .3 microns of particulates and big droplets would not move through the barrier.
Material: An electrostatic non-woven polypropylene fiber is the filtration stuff on the mask.
Valve: An optional exhalation valve comes with some disposable N95 masks. According to the CDC, "The presence of an exhalation valve decreases exhalation resistance, making it easier to breathe (exhale)."
Top Suppliers of N95
Honeywell, headquartered in Santa Ana, CA, manufactures non-disposable respirators, filters, and cartridges while also supplying, with and without valves, molded, half and flat fold disposable N95 masks. Honeywell also provides chemical, vapor, and gas safety materials, welding, airborne particulates, and pollution.
Centered in St. Paul, MN, 3M produces surgical masks, including face shields and N95 respirators attached to them. Other surgical supplies, including pads, skin prep, tape, antimicrobial dressing, closures, and post-operative dressing, are also given by the business.
The products of Kimberly-Clark Corporation include procedural, surgical and N95 masks, as well as face veils, filters, plumes, and masks for children. The business is headquartered in Irving, TX.
Headquartered in Hampton, NH, via Nexera Medical, Foss Performance Materials' SpectrasShield Products include N99 respirator masks and N95 protectors.
Prestige Ameritech provides surgical and N95 masks as well as face guards, glasses, and visors manufactured in the USA, in North Richland Hills, TX. Inside the United States, the business ships only.
In the USA, Alpha Pro Tech, in Westchester, PA, produces its products. It offers respirators with N95, as well as masks with and without shields, veils, and other personal protective clothing for medication.
The Louis M. Gerson Company sells disposable N95 respirators as shaped and cupped disposable masks in Middleboro, MA. The firm also provides welding, painting, silica and concrete respirators and filters, mold remediation, and vapor.
Makrite has the most private label choices on the list, based out of Taiwan. Including both disposable and reusable forms, its items include industrial masks. It also includes surgical masks, including those with respirators that have N95.
The offerings of Moldex-Metric include multi-size N95 surgical masks, including flat-folding models, as well as hearing safety products. The business, whose masks are manufactured in the USA, is based in Culver City, CA.
In Shanghai, China, Shanghai Dasheng Health Products Manufacturing Company is headquartered. As well as medical and other masks and goggles, the company provides NIOSH Regulation for N95 and N99 masks.
In adult and children's sizes, Aero Pro Company produces molded and flat-folded N95 disposable respirators, disposable N95 surgical masks, and non-N95 surgical masks. The firm is based in Changhua District, Taiwan.
Shanghai Gangkai is also headquartered in Shanghai and supplies multi-layered surgical masks with activated carbon options for daily use of N95 masks.
A metastasized variant of the crises that have come to characterize American health care is the N95 grey market. To import N95 masks for hospitals, people should not have to set up GoFundMes any more. Gray markets emerge not from mere huckster opportunism, but from a vacuum of capital and options. Right now, the bottom-up organization thriving to help front-line health care staff is profoundly encouraging and important, but this strategy can not become a permanent stopgap for a fractured supply chain as the coronavirus pandemic stretches weeks and months.