Protect children from cancer causing incense smoke

If you burn incense at home regularly you may be putting your children at a risk of developing cancer or lung problems. TOTOBOBO mask may be the only practical solution for children who cannot avoid exposed to the harmful incense smoke in many Asian cities.

Incense burning smoke

Smoke particles from burning incense were found to cause cancer of the upper respiratory track. A 12 years long “Singapore Chinese Health Study” of more than 61,000 ethnic Chinese adults living in Singapore discovered ‘Among non-smokers who used incense during the day or at all times, the increased cancer risk was three times that of smokers.’ said Prof Koh Woon Puay of National University of Singapore.

Children surgical mask

The best way to avoid such risk is not to burn any joss-stick. However, incense has a significant meaning in the minds of many Asian cultures such as Hindu, Buddhist or Taoist. Mr Chung Kwang Tong, secretary-general of the Taoist Federation Youth Group in Singapore, explained that for Taoists, the smoke from incense is a way of communicating with the deities. Even for those who don’t practice any of these religions, may have inhaled incense smoke involuntary. Children are particularly at risk, there is mounting evidence that exposure to air pollution has long-term effects on lung development in children.

Children wearing N95 mask

If stop burning incense is not an option, then protecting the vulnerable children with a face mask should be the second best option, right? To filter out the harmful smoke effectively, a face mask must produce two conditions simultaneously. First it needs to seal the user’s nose and mouth snugly. Second the filter material must be able to filter out those fine smoke particles. The use of simple surgical mask doesn’t help, as air-leaks are all around the face and smoke can easily by-pass the mask to enter the lung. Upgrade to an N95 respirator can help, only if you have access to a fit-test setup to ensure the mask is making a proper fit. Otherwise, if air-gaps exist in an N95 mask, it makes very little difference from using a cheap surgical mask. Buying an N95 mask is easy, but getting it fit-tested is not. Much to disappointment, there is no N95 mask available for children.

Children wearing Totobobo mask

TOTOBOBO mask can be cut to fit children (and adults), and parents can now fit-check the mask without the need of expensive fit-test equipments. The name TOTOBOBO (totobobo.com) suggests the solutions in Chinese: TOTO (transparent) BOBO (protection for baby). Parents can see through the transparent mask to examine the seal on the children face. We compared the visual fit-check method with a high-end fit-test setup call Porta-Count in hospital. The result shows strong correlation between the visual-check method and the official fit-test. “User seal-check has never been able to reach such accuracy. It is possible to ensure protection by simply looking through the mask.

It looks like TOTOBOBO mask is going to provide the much needed alternative to surgical masks or disposable N95 mask, especially for children suffering from incense smoke or other air pollution.

Does smaller particle always penetrate filters easier?

Common sense would suggest smaller particle always penetrate filter easier. But this is not always, as state in the FAQ of CDC site:

1. How effective are the Part 84 filter respirators against particles smaller than 0.3 micrometer in diameter?

The 0.3-micrometer diameter used in the certification testing is approximately the most penetrating particle size for particulate filters. Although it seems contrary to expectation, smaller particles do not penetrate as readily as 0.3-micrometer particles. Therefore, these respirators will filter all other particle sizes at least as well as the certified efficiency level.

2. How effective are the Part 84 filter respirators against asbestos fibers or other rod-shaped particles?

Although fibers or rod-shaped particles may have very small cross-sectional diameters relative to their lengths, the Part 84 particulate filter respirators will be at least as efficient against this particle shape as the certified efficiency level.

CDC is right, this is contrary to expectation. The reasons is explained in another document in more details. Here is a diagram from pg. 9 of the document showing there are actually four different collection mechanisms govern particulate air filter performance: inertial impaction, interception, diffusion, and electrostatic attraction:

4 different collection mechanisms of particulate filters

The first three of these mechanisms apply mainly to mechanical filters and are influenced by particle size.

  • Impaction occurs when a particle traveling in the air stream and passing around a fiber, deviates from the air stream (due to particle inertia) and collides with a fiber.
  • Interception occurs when a large particle, because of its size, collides with a fiber in the filter that the air stream is passing through.
  • Diffusion occurs when the random (Brownian) motion of a particle causes that particle to contact a fiber.
  • Electrostatic attraction, the fourth mechanism, plays a very minor role in mechanical filtration. After fiber contact is made, smaller particles are retained on the fibers by a weak electrostatic force.

Impaction and interception are the dominant collection mechanisms for particles greater than 0.2 ?m, and diffusion is dominant for particles less than 0.2 ?m. The combined effect of these three collection mechanisms results in the classic collection efficiency curve, shown in the following Figure:

Fractional collection efficiency versus particle

The TOTOBOBO filters is a type of electrostatic filters which contain electrostatically enhanced fibers. Such fibers actually attract the particles to the fibers, in addition to retaining them. Electrostatic filters rely on charged fibers to dramatically increase collection efficiency for a given pressure drop across the filter.

Following table gives a rough idea of how small a micron is:

Substance Micro-meters (microns) Inch
90% of Wood smoke particles are smaller than 1 micron 0.00004
Bacteria (average) 2 0.00008
Red Blood Cell 8 0.0003
Talcum Powder 10 0.0004
White Blood Cell 25 0.001
Human Hair 70 0.003
Grain of Table Salt 100 0.004

Read more:

Used filters from India

The best pollution mask fits children

Totobobo mask perfect for children

Totobobo mask perfect for children

Worlds first fitting mask for children

World’s first fitting mask for children

“Totobobo mask is far superior to any other mask on the market. Period!”

 

Kayla, with her Totobobo mask on

7 years girl Kayla, fighting Leukemia with the support from her mother Debbie

“Your mask is the ONLY mask that fits the way a mask should. It is also the most economical product on the market. The other masks are hot, poorly fitted and have to be replaced repeatedly. I love your product and keep one of the masks in my purse, in case it is needed for Kayla. I am never without it.”

Debbie Witter,USA Free help for cancer

World’s first fitting mask for children

TOTOBOBO is the first fitting mask designed with the need of children in mind. It can be cut to fit children aged 5 and above. It may fit younger kids depends on individual face size. The reusable mask is made of a special anti-virus and softy plastic material.

L. P. – Ontario, Canada
I have tried the TOTOBOBO mask a few times and I like it very very much, it compare well or better than my previous North half mask. The only thing I might change about it is to make the strap a bit wider as it kind of cuts into my face a bit. I love the flexability of being able to use it for my children. It’s difficult to find anything in a smaller size and with cold and flu season upon us it is a useful tool when someone is sick here! Thanks and I am considering ordering more!

Thomas Eric Johnson Ph.D – Thailand, Bangkok
My son and I cough and suffer from pollution in Bangkok. Other parents at his school think he is sick all the time, but when he comes home and is in a clean room, he stops coughing. We received the masks and my wife trim it to fit our son. You know what, the mask did fit! I used a 3M mask before but the TOTOBOBO is more flexible and it fits children as well. I could not find any other mask that would fit him. The TOTOBOBO works fine. Our son wares it regularly when the weather is dry and dust and pollution increases.

Joe Flynn – San Diego, USA
“The TOTOBOBO masks fits my small child well. I requested them after the wildfires here in San Diego – I could find adult masks here in the US, but none to fit a child.

Read more about TOTOBOBO mask for children :

Buy Totobobo mask

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How to’s

How to customize TOTOBOBO mask for your children?

How to wash TOTOBOBO mask for reuse?

How to check the mask-to-face-seal without fit-test equipment?

Download Totobobo mask simulator to check if it fit your kids

Buy TOTOBOBO mask for children

Burning Joss Sticks can cause Cancer

Ian MacKinnon in Bangkok Wednesday July 30 2008

offering incense in a temple

Burning joss sticks lit as an offering in shrines and temples fill the air with cancer-causing toxins that are every bit as deadly as traffic fumes and cigarette smoke, says Dr Manoon Leechawengwong.

Dr Manoon, who has just completed a two-year study of temple workers tasked with clearing the smouldering sticks, found the cocktail of chemicals in the smoke put them at risk of leukaemia, lung, blood and bladder cancers.

“One joss stick creates the same amount of cancer-causing chemicals at one cigarette,” said Dr Manoon, who led the research. “I knew there would be some carcinogens, but I was surprised by the levels.”

Joss sticks are a type of incense used in worship in many Asian countries. In Buddhism they are believed to aid spiritual communication and serve as an offering.

Dr Manoon’s study was conducted among 40 workers in three temples at Ayutthaya, Chachoengsao and Samut Prakan, sites chosen deliberately far from Bangkok’s traffic pollution. The findings were compared with another 25 people living in a joss-stick free environment.


Temple workers were exposed to high levels of benzene, also known as petroleum ether, related to leukaemia; butadiene involved in blood cancer; and benzo[a]pyrene that can cause lung, bladder and skin cancers.

The level of benzene in the temple workers was four times higher than normal, butadiene was 260 times higher, and benzo[a]pyrene – the most dangerous carcinogen – 63 times greater.

Analysis of the temple workers blood and urine samples discovered damage to their DNA, with a correspondingly lower capacity of their bodies to repair that damage.

“We know from our study that there’s DNA damage,” said Dr Manoon. “But what we don’t know is if they will develop cancer. Certainly they have a greater risk. It’s like smoking. Not all smokers get cancer, it’s about 20% .”

Source

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Blogger Fong Yoong Kheong offers the following practical solutions:

Solution 1 : Open Windows to ensure proper air flow, so as to reduce the amount that you have to breathe in.

Solution 2 : Wear a N95 Mask or Chemical Protection Mask. Like most people, he thought this will be simple. Just don a mask to prevent the inhalation of toxic substances. But unless you have a fit test equipment and do a proper fit-test, the assurance of protection can be an illusion.

Solution 3 : Learn from SAF – Simulate the smoke. (I really like this one)

Solution 4 : Install the Urn outside your house

Solution 5 : Buy premium grade Incense. They cost much higher but they are made of premium grade of wood and does not release toxic smoke.

Source