Chai Jing’s air pollution documentary making big impact

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) :

more information at upworthy:

How does a mask protect you from haze?

Haze in Singapore
Haze in Singapore

The haze is back in Singapore, fuelled by raging fires in Sumatra. Thursday’s PSI was the highest recorded here in almost two years. Experts here said on Thursday the haze might linger over Singapore for a while, due to the prevailing south-west monsoon season conditions, which typically last till late October. If the situation worsen, put on a mask when you go out may be a good way to protect yourselves. Do take note if you do use a mask:

If a mask can not seal your face, it can not protect you from the haze.

Haze is an atmospheric phenomenon when airborn particles such as dust, smoke and other particles obscure the clarity of the sky. The haze particle are very fine and easily get breathe into your lung by following the air flow.

Buoyant haze particle follow the “passage of least resistance”. The working principle of a mask is to seal off the breathing zone such that the least resistant path through the mask is the filter. Air must go through the filters before it can reach the breathing zone. The particle is trapped on the filters and therefore the air is cleaned before entering your mouth or nose.

Regular surgical mask or even N95 mask won’t help if there is gaps between the mask and your face. A gap between the face and the mask is an alternative passage with less resistance than the filter. Air and the particle will leak through the gap rather than going through the filter. One of the key concern when using a regular mask is how can one decide if the mask is truly fitting and sealing the breathing zone?

Here in Totobobo mask we provide the possibility for you to check the fit through the transparent mask. You can adjust the position, the tension of the strap, or even cut the mask to make it better fit to your face. Although we can not guarantee it will fit everyone, yet the chances of fitting is much higher than a regular mask.

In addition, judging by the colour change you will be able to tell when the filter has done it’s job and should be replaced.

For demonstration, here is a pair of filter kindly provided by Kenneth Koh of Advanturenomad. He use the Totobobo mask during his cycling trip in Vietnam. The colour collected on the mask is the result of nearly 30 hours of cycling in Vietnam from Hanoi to Dalat.

Used filter after 28 hours of cycling in Vietnam
Used filter after 28 hours of cycling in Vietnam

Singapore mask designed to protects children

In the haze, young children are at greater risk because of their lungs is still under development and there is a lack of child-friendly respiratory masks. The customisable Totobobo mask offers parents a reassuring solution and is seeing strong demand from around the world.

News release
(Singapore, 4 May 2009)  As swine flu (H1N1) continues to spread, young children are at greater risk because of their lungs is still under development and there is a lack of child-friendly respiratory masks. The customisable Totobobo mask offers parents a reassuring solution and is seeing strong demand from around the world.

Totobobo mask fit children with small face size
Totobobo mask fit children of different ages

The patented Totobobo mask was created by product designer Francis Chu to meet the need for children respiratory protection. Made from “Totosoft”, a custom-blend soft plastic formulated using FDA approved sources, the mask is also equipped with two powerful electro-static filters. The mask can be trimmed to fit children as young as five-years-old. Parents can see through the transparent mask and double check if it fits their child snuggly.

For a mask to be effective, it has to fit the face snuggly, so that airborne viruses cannot seep through any gaps. Children wearing adult-sized respiratory masks, whether NIOSH-certified or not would be exposed to contaminated air due to the ill fit.

normal N95 mask does not fit children
normal N95 mask is too big for children

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in the USA tests and certifies respiratory devices on the market such as the current standard N95 masks. This test is only conducted on adults. The certification determines the filtration efficiency and does not guarantee how well the masks fit. All NIOSH-certified respiratory masks, such as N95 masks, are fixed sizes and do not come in smaller sizes for children.

In 2003, when SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) first broke out, Francis Chu, a father of two, got first-hand experience of the anxiety of parents concerned about his children’s safety. His children were only six and eight-years-old. At that time and he could not find a mask that would fit their small faces.

“I felt hopeless knowing that my children were in imminent danger if they go into crowded public space like schools or playgrounds and that I could not do anything about it.”
“The sense of threat prompt me into looking for a design solution that will fit all face shapes including children.” explains Francis.

The customisable Totobobo respiratory mask that Francis eventually created, after experimenting with hundreds of prototypes, fits both adult and child. Its soft and light material (only 20grams) makes it less irritable for children who might find it uncomfortable wearing a normal mask.

“I was thinking from a parent’s perspective during the design process and that pushed me harder to make the mask as practical as possible. I am happy to know that with the child-friendly Totobobo mask, parents now have a practical choice to better assured of their children’s safety,” adds Francis.

Time for a better mask to protect children
Parent testimonial