An important part of breathing clean air is being able to protect yourself from air pollutants when you are outside.
Besides portable personal air purifiers you can use filtered masks to prevent yourself from breathing in dangerous air pollutants while you are outdoors.
In this post I show you and recommend various masks for different scenarios you may find yourself in. Some of the gear below here is available at Amazon. Just follow the product links for more specification details at Amazon or on the actual product website.
Best Anti-Pollution Masks For Daily Use
The 3M mask is a great general purpose N95 mask for anyone. It snug fits on almost any face. The problem though is that you have to dispose of your mask quite often if you use it everyday. 3M Masks will help you get rid of dust and numerous other particulate matter but its not the best for VOCs, dangerous gases and odors. Click here for more details and to check the price of the 3M Mask at Amazon.
Designer Anti-Pollution Masks
If you are looking for a more sophisticated and fashionable mask you can wear and reuse everyday, have a look at U-Mask's or Respro's anti-pollution masks. U-Mask masks are different from any other masks as they get rid of both pollutant gasses and particulate matter before you breathe them in.
U-Mask uses a biotechnology based air filtration system that oxidize pollutants and turns them into water vapor and carbon dioxide. This all happens as the air passes on the mask's surface before you can breathe in the pollutants. The main problem I have seen with U-Mask masks is that sometimes they don't fit well.
Also, if you are wearing glasses or a helmet of some sorts, the way the mask fits makes you breathe out hot air which fogs up your glasses or you helmet's wind screen. The advantage of U-Mask masks is that they don't have to be snug fit to get rid of pollutants and protect you. Click here for more detailed information about U-Masks.
Respro masks fit better than U-mask and don't fog up your glasses and helmet. They contain activated carbon and a HEPA filter which trap ultra-fine particles and adsorb some gasses before you inhale them. Activated carbon also gets rid of excess moisture from your breathing.
These masks fit well on most people but I have seen a couple of people complain that their mask's get painful because they fit to tight. They are however certainly not the majority. Have a look at Respro's masks here.
Nasal screens are adhesive nose hole shaped thin filters you can stick on your nostrils to filter out pollutants as you inhale air. If you do not fancy masks, the next thing you can try is a nasal screen. They are hypoallergenic and work well for people with allergies by preventing inhalation of allergens.
However, nasal screens are useless for odors and gasses. Some people also complain about finding the correct size nasal screen and the screens not sticking well to their skin to hold their position. Other people just feel awkward wearing them as they are not so discreet. That said, if you get hay-fever or allergic to any thing in your air, these can be a life saver. I recommend the First Defense Nasal Screens and they are available for cheap on Amazon.
Anti-Pollution Masks For Jogging
Don't let air pollution outside prevent you from jogging. Both U-Mask and Respro masks are suitable for jogging under high pollution levels.
Anti-Pollution Masks for Cyclists & Bikers
When it comes to bikers and cyclists, I also recommend Respro masks. If you don't wear glasses, you can also use a U-Mask mask for cycling. However, stay away from the U-Mask masks if you are biker. The U-Mask mask will make you fog up your helmet with steam from your breath.
Anti-Pollution Masks For Kids And Babies
The best pollution mask I managed to find for kids is the Kapmore 3PCS Mouth Mask (click to see it here at Amazon). The mask can filter out PM 2.5 pollutants and has an exhale valve to make breathing easy. It will protect your kids from allergens, dust and airborne germs. This mask also has adjustable ear loops for you to easily snug fit it on your child.
As for pollution masks for babies up to 18 months, the best solution I came across is the Mira Safety infant gas mask. This gas mask is like a mini tent you can carry your baby around in. Its the most suitable pollution mask for new born babies I have seen to date. It will protect your baby from various airborne viruses, dust, volatile organic compounds and dangerous gases. Check out the Mira Safety Infant Mask here for more details.
Anti-Pollution Masks for Dogs
I tried to look for anti-pollution masks for different pets but the only pet I could find a mask for is a dog. K9 Masks manufactures dog anti-pollution masks of various sizes (click here for more detail). The masks come with a replaceable N95 and activated carbon filter.
This mask is said to protect your dog from inhaling smog, smoke, dust and various particulate matter in the air that N95 masks can trap. The activated carbon filter prevent your dog from inhaling dangerous gasses. This mask is ideal for going for walks or jogging with your dog but its not for rainy days. In wet weather it can restrict your dogs breathing.
Anti-Pollution Gas Masks
If you are extremely sensitive to air pollution, then the next and best level of pollution beyond the usual half face pollution mask is a gas mask. One of the best gas masks I have come across are MIRA Safety’s masks.
They won't work if you have a beard and you have to wear a half helmet if you want to use them while riding on a motor bike but there are a lot of circumstances where they will work well. The masks are made of bromobutyl rubber which lasts a lifetime and makes sure no pollution seeps through into your mask.
Beyond particulate matter pollution they will protect you from a wide range of harmful and highly toxic airborne substances including all known CBRN agents. You can check out the MIRA Safety gas masks here on their website.