Pollution Masks: Which Are Best?

BY DR. RICHARD SAINT CYR, ON SEPTEMBER 13TH, 2010

My Health in Beijing by medical blogger Dr. Richard Saint Cyr
My Health in Beijing by medical blogger Dr. Richard Saint Cyr

Real World Testing

I tried it around town for a bit, and the overall comfort is good. It definitely is less awkward-looking than the typical N95 with exhalation valves. I was pleasantly surprised with the seal and that my glasses didn’t fog up, although I got those mask lines on my face that other masks also cause. It’s relatively easy to keep on, with straps either behind the ear or behind the head (which always provides a closer fit).

I didn’t do any fancy technical testing with it, but on a bad, smelly day I put on the mask and instantly could no longer smell that pollution.

Also, there are a few other real-world advantages:

It’s not totally uncool-looking
It’s reusable and washable, and it’s easy to carry in a pouch (provided by them)
There are kids sizes
You can quickly cut the mask to fit better
The masks and filter refills are very reasonably priced

My Bottom Line

Totobobo didn’t pay me anything, and I get no income from them for this mention. I’m simply trying to find well-researched options to protect myself and anyone else from Beijing’s air pollution, and I’d be more than happy to review other masks as well and to publish the results. Last year I tried to find good studies on other brands, including Respro, but I found no well-designed studies on other masks. Does anyone have such information?

I think Totobobo is a good and affordable option for people. And a 135-fold drop in pollution is very impressive; even on an emergency day with the AQI over 500, the mask would bring your air to WHO-safe levels.

Member of Medical code of conduct
DR. RICHARD SAINT CYR is a member of "Medical code of conduct"