I’m a great fan of your super-cool mask. For a while I used a 3M face mask when cycling but found that I got a staph infection in my nose owing to the high amount of moisture it created. Yet without any mask when cycling in London my asthma became very bad. The solution was your amazing Totobobo super-cool mask. There are a number of reviews online, even by competing mask manufacturers which dismiss its efficacy and say how unnatural it is to breathe in through your mouth and out through your nose. What utter nonsense! After only a few days it had become second nature for me to breathe in this fashion when cycling. Now I swear by the mask and am writing with the express wish that you use my endorsement publicly.
The Totobobo Petite mask attracted a lot of female fans since it’s introduction. The smaller version of Totobobo mask is softer, specifically designed for ladies and children. In most cases, the Petite is able to fit ladies out of the pack. For children, it may need to be trimmed smaller to fit. Some parents told us that it is not easy to customise the Totobobo Petite (TT-02) mask to fit their children, especially those smaller ones. Base on extensive study, we’ve redesigned the “Petite Simulator” which can be used to create a full size paper dummy for testing the size, and later serve as the template to customise the Petite mask for the user.
Following is a self-explanatory photo journal of the important steps to creates and trim the paper simulator, and use the result as a template to customise the actual Petite mask:
The protection of a respiratory mask depends on two factors:
1. How good is the air filter and
2. How well the mask is able to seal your face, such that the air you breathe in must go through the filters.
The filters can be tested by reputable laboratory where certified reports are produced. We sent filters to Nelson Labs in USA and the results are published.
However, it is not at all easy for individual user to determine if the mask is really fitting the face completely without any gaps. Totobobo is the only mask in the market provides a simple method, or the “Water Mark check”, to let users ensure the face seal.
The frost edge of the mask changes to transparent when it touches wet skin. This is called the “water mark”. Followings show a step by step approach to check the seal with the water mark:
– Apply a thin layer of water on the user’s face with cotton wool, especially around the nose bridge and chin area.
– Don the mask and carefully examine the water mark.
– Check if the water mark form a complete, continuous loop encircling the nose, mouth and under the chin, that indicates the mask is making a good seal around your face. The mask is now ready for use.
– If there are patch(s) of frost area breaking up the water-mark-loop, that indicates where the seal breaks and you may need to adjust the mask to improve the seal. There are several things you can do, such as:
1) Adjust the position of the mask. (shift it up and down to find the optimal position)
2) Adjust the tension of the elastic straps (it should be firm, but not too tight)
3) ReShape the mask (use 70°C water or hair dryer, but don’t overheat!)
4) Cut the mask smaller (only when it is really necessary!)
Your mask is ready to give you the best protection when you have a good seal. Do use the water mark method to double check the seal.
Due to the haze issue recently, Totobobo mask received refreshed interests from the Singapore community. Here is a quick list link to some of the reviews:
2015-09-25 Video review of several masks which includes Totobobo, Air+, 3M, Respro and surgical masks, by Willy Foo, Photographer, Marketer, Technopreneur
With the haze in Singapore turning bad, the perfect mask depends on the fit to each individuals face as much as the N95 compliance. I test several masks to see which is the most effective.
2015-09-27 Normad Travellers (Davide and Oti) extensive analysis of Totobobo mask and personal experience of using the mask:
We have started using our Totobobo masks, and changed the filters for the first time after 7 days of usage in Malaysia, plagued by the haze coming from Indonesia. So far we are satisfied, it works well and the filters are getting gray as expected!
2015-10-07 Detail analysis of Totobobo mask with back ground information of haze, by Ngoh Seh Suan
Totobobo is an popular respirator within local leisure cycling communities – because Francis is a green commuter himself, using his bicycles whenever he can and promoting safety through road/infrastructure design. And safety through design was really the theme behind the Totobobo, although he has not said it before openly about the concept of his Totobobo respirator.I’ve bought my first Totobobo way back in June 2011, when the haze that year was still around the June period. I bought my second set in Q1 2014, to meant to replace the very first set, which to date in September 2015, I have yet to decommission as it could be a standby unit in case I lose the newer unit. I bought my Moldex initially in March 2014, during a short-lived haze period while I used the my second set of Totobobo.
2015-10-06 Combating the Singapore haze and air pollution with the Totobobo mask, by Lifestyle runner blogger Pris Chew
2015-10-25 Professional review by A Cup Of Milk
Totobobo mask has a good feature where you can customize the mask (and the ear loop) by reshaping it with hot water / hair dryer. This is a very crucial feature, a mask that do not fit your face is not an effective mask at all. The rim of the mask is integrated with silver ion which is an anti-microbial agent.
Another good point it’s reusable, you just need to change the filter. When it gets dirty you can wash them.
This DIY Air Filter was inspired by a recent FB post about a product called “Oxycan”. Apparently this metal can contains 10 minutes of oxygen for breathing luxury, as an daily escape for those who can afford it in smoke chocked Kalimantan, Indonesia.
Even under PSI 2000, oxygen is still in the air, the problem is that the air is contaminated by smoke from the forest fire. A good fitting respirator, such as N95 mask, to filter out the smoke particles is the solution. However, under such emergency situation, it is not possible to collect and distribute N95 masks to all who needs it. Further more, even if the mask is available, it is not easy to ensure it is fitting correctly. A non-fitting N95 mask is not effective.
Below is a simple idea to transform readily available material into an air filter, which is able to clean the air for breathing safely and is easy to use.
To create this DIY air filter, you need a couple of T-shirts and a water bottle plus a couple of strings. Based on our test with a professional machine (Portacount Pro 8038) such DIY filter is able to reduce air pollution by 40 folds, achieving a filtration efficiency of 97.5%. It is capable of bringing down the fine particles (PM2.5, PM10) from super hazardous level (PSI 1000) to moderate (PSI 75).
Link to YouTube video
Below is a step by step guide:
If you feel this idea is useful for someone you know, please share. Here is link to a PDF file for printing to share: water-bottle-air-filter. If you have more ideas or suggestions, please let me know in the comment as well.
Note: The idea of DIY water bottle air filter has been demonstrated in our Lab in Singapore to show that it is effective to cut down air pollution. However different fabric material has different filtration characteristic. This idea has not been certified by any authority. User agree to take own responsibility for the use of the idea.
Due to the recent haze situation in Singapore, we receive many questions from customers regarding how to fit the mask. This is especially important for children because their lungs are not yet fully developed and are more vulnerable. Wearing an ill fitting mask gives a false sense of security; unaware users may expose themselves in unnecessary risks.
Upon customer’s request, we conducted a Mask Fitting Demo session at the Medic Drugstore at Tanjong Pagar Plaza. Medic Drugstore is our retail partner in Singapore since 2009.
First of all, we need to understand why mask fitting is important. The working principle of a mask (negative pressure respirator) is to seal-off mouth and nose such that the only way the polluted air can get into the mask is through the air filters. If the mask is not fitted properly, ambient air can easily bypass the filters and enter breathing zone directly. Henceforth wearing a poorly fitted mask is similar to not wearing a mask. On the other hand, a well fitted mask allows the users to breathe in cleaned air.
Totobobo mask fitting procedure:
1. Pre-test* – To demonstrate poor fit leads to poor respiratory protection.
2. ReShape to improve the fit – This is an iterative process between watermark seal check and reshaping.
3. Final test* – To demonstrate the high protection performance of Totobobo mask when a good seal is achieved.
*A professional respirator fit-test equipment, TSI Portacount Pro+ 8038, was used to validate the protection performance. Portacount Pro is the gold standard in the industry for respirator testing.
Two important features (unique to Totobobo mask) we demonstrated during the Mask-fitting session: The Watermark Seal Check (WSC) and the ReShape function.
Watermark Seal Check (WSC):
Watermark Seal Check (WSC) is a patented feature of Totobobo mask. It allows users to check the seal by means of “Watermark”, easily and accurately. The “Watermark” refers to the area of the mask changes from translucent to transparent when the mask touches wet skin. A continuous watermark loop around nose and mouth indicates a completed seal.
- First wet face with water, then put on the mask.
- Check the edge areas of the mask whether a continuous watermark loop appears around nose and mouth.
Tips: Sometimes by adjusting the straps (shorter or longer), making it a little tighter or looser, or moving the mask up or down can shift the watermark and change the seal condition.
ReShape the mask
Totobobo mask is made of a special polymer which allows re-shaping when it is heated up by hot water or hair dryer. Most of leakage problems occur below chin and around nose bridge can be solved by ReShaping. Here are two approaches to eliminate the gaps in these areas.
To eliminate gap below chin – A new mask usually doesn’t fit a face perfectly due to a fold-line formed whilst flat packed. The fold line causes a gap below chin. To eliminate this gap:
- Dip the mask quickly into and out of hot water a few times (70-80°C, NO boiling water which will damage the mask permanently)
- Press a finger on the fold line against tabletop, hold it for 10 seconds.
- Release to check if the fold line diminishes. If the fold line is still obvious, the water may not be hot enough. Redo with hotter water. The lower part of the mask should have been widened up.
To eliminate gaps near nose bridge – With the help of Watermark, take note of the location of the gaps (translucent area) next to nose bridge.
- Dip the mask quickly into and out of hot water a few times (70-80°C, NO boiling water which will damage the mask permanently)
- Hold the bottom (chin part) of the mask with one hand, use the other hand to help shape the nose bridge area (use thumb and index finger to press at the points where the gaps are observed).
- Hold the mask in the new shape for a minute or two to fix the shape.
- Try the newly shaped mask on user’s face with the WSC method. You may need to do this back and forth a few times in order to eliminate all the gaps. But once you achieve it, the new shape can be retained for subsequent uses.
Below is an overview of the “Mask fitting and validation process” for your reference (Click to enlarge).
This question is repeatedly asked:
How is it possible for Totobobo filters to filter out sub-micron particles?
This is an important question because sub-micron particles ( eg.PM2.5 ) contained in polluted air is the major health concern. The secret of Totobobo filters is the high intensity static charges on each fiber which made up the filter matrix. When you breathe in, airborne particles follow the air and pass through the filter matrix. Fine particles are very susceptive to the static charges and therefore most of them eventually are attracted onto the filter fibers. In fact, Nelson Lab test shows Totobobo F96 filter is able to cut down 99.86% of 0.1 microns particles. Under a microscope it shows how small particles are attached to the filter fibers.
Quoted from the NIOSH Science Blog below:
How do filters collect particles?
These capture, or filtration mechanisms is described as follows:
- Inertial impaction: With this mechanism, particles having too much inertia due to size or mass cannot follow the airstream as it is diverted around a filter fiber. This mechanism is responsible for collecting larger particles.
- Interception: As particles pass close to a filter fiber, they may be intercepted by the fiber. Again, this mechanism is responsible for collecting larger particles.
- Diffusion: Small particles are constantly bombarded by air molecules, which cause them to deviate from the airstream and come into contact with a filter fiber. This mechanism is responsible for collecting smaller particles.
- Electrostatic attraction: Oppositely charged particles are attracted to a charged fiber. This collection mechanism does not favor a certain particle size.
In all cases, once a particle comes into contact with a filter fiber, it is removed from the airstream and strongly held by molecular attractive forces. It is very difficult for such particles to be removed once they are collected. As seen in Figure 2, there is a particle size at which none of the “mechanical” collection mechanisms (interception, impaction, or diffusion) is particularly effective. This “most penetrating particle size” (MPPS) marks the best point at which to measure filter performance. If the filter demonstrates a high level of performance at the MPPS, then particles both smaller AND larger will be collected with even higher performance.
This is perhaps the most misunderstood aspect of filter performance and bears repeating. Filters do NOT act as sieves. One of the best tests of a filter’s performance involves measuring particle collection at its most penetrating particle size, which ensures better performance for larger and smaller particles. Further, the filter’s collection efficiency is a function of the size of the particles, and is not dependent on whether they are bio aerosols or inert particles.
This “Winter collection” is not a fashion series, but the collection of used Totobobo filters throughout the last winter in Beijing, China.
From Danni Moody:
I’ve lived in Beijing teaching English for 1 year. I ordered my Totobobo in November when the pollution starting getting bad. The pollution is much worse in winter which is 5-6 months long here. 9 out of 10 days in winter are heavily polluted. There were days where the tops of apartment buildings couldn’t be seen because the pollution was so bad. Totobobo is the first mask I’ve used and I love it! I like that I can see the change in the filters as they collect the pollution. I wear it to and from work, about an hour each day and I change the filters twice a week. I decided to save my used filters from winter and take a photo of them when Spring started. It’s scary to see that all of that gunk could’ve been in my lungs if I didn’t have my Totobobo mask! The only downside to these plastic masks is the condensation that accumulates inside of it, but I will still use Totobobo despite that:)
Thank you Danni for the cool pic!
Mr. Richards is a Triathlete, trying and trying to qualify for the Ironman World Championships. He advocates clean air after seeing how quickly his Totobobo filters turn into dark grey from pristine white just after a few rides to work.
I was shocked when received the used filter from G. Richards. He collected the used filters last year and the results speak for itself – you don’t want this stuff, such as PM2.5, get into your lungs!
For those curious, here are some details of Mr. Richards’ Bike2Work route:
From February to July, 2014, from Leinster Gardens, across Hyde Park and finished at the other side of River Theme. A 35 minutes cycling each way.
From July to December 2014, from Leinster Gardens to Hanover Park, 20 minutes each way.
Mr. Richards found that his right-side filter alway turns darker than his left-side filter, because he rides close to the curb and traffic is always on his right. Each pairs of filters were used for two weeks for riding to and from work.
Former CCTV anchor Chai Jing released her documentary “Under the Dome” which is all about air pollution in China last week. She asked the following questions in the 104 minutes video report:
What is haze?
Where does it come from?
What can we do?
Within 24 hours of its release, it had over 100 million views online. Over the weekend, it had over 150 million views. This is quickly become the most impactful report and hopefully helping to shape the opinions and future energy policy regarding pollution and emission.
The documentary is now available in youtube (translation is being made through crowd-sourcing effort) :