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N95Masks

How to Buy Genuine N95 Masks

When buying N95 masks you are doing so to protect yourself, colleagues and employees. You need to be sure you are getting the quality you expect.

Now with the global shortage of N95 masks, there are hundreds of new companies that have started to produce masks in China and other countries. We are seeing these come to market now.

The Netherlands have recently recalled 600,000 masks purchased from China due to them not meeting quality standards.

If countries can not be sure of quality when they buy these masks, it is very difficult for smaller buyers, individuals, healthcare workers, practices and buyers.

Chinese “KN95” masks are coming to market now and they are being touted as N95 masks.

Due to so many new companies producing these masks now, it very difficult to be sure of the quality and impossible that all of them are certified.

So, how to be sure you are getting a real N95 mask?

Buy brands and models that are known and certified in the USA by NIOSH.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has a handy website that lists every brand and model mask that is NIOSH N95 certified.

All the manufacturers are listed alphabetically and it is very easy to use.

The website is here

NIOSH-Approved N95 Particulate Filtering Facepiece Respirators

Whether you buy your N95 masks from us at N95SurgicalMasks.com (all of our masks are USA NIOSH N95 certified) or another vendor, make sure you are getting genuine N95 masks by making sure they are on the NIOSH approved list.

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N95Masks

Buy N95 Masks Online

We have N95 masks in stock and ready to ship worldwide. We process all face mask orders within 24 hours. Here is a sample of some of the masks we have in stock. Buy N95 Masks Online right here!

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N95Masks

How to Safely Remove a N95 Mask

You have protected yourself from breathing in contaminants by correctly fitting and wearing your N95 mask, now you need to make sure your don’t spread contamination when you remove your mask.

Here is how to remove your N95 Surgical Mask respirator.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water before touching or taking off the mask.
  2. Important. Do not touch the front part of the mask, it may be contaminated. Only touch the elastic bands.

3a. For face masks with elastic bands securing the mask, lift the bottom strap over your head first and then pull the top strap over your head to remove the mask in a motion away from you so the front of the mask doesn’t touch anywhere.

3b. For face masks with ties, remove the bottom tie first and then the top tie

3c. For face masks with straps over the ears, hold the straps, take each side off one by one and then remove the mask away from you, again not letting the front of the mask touch anything.

  1. If you are going to re-use your mask, hang it up somewhere by the bands so the front of the mask isn’t touching anything.
  2. Wash your hands well with soap and water again.

Once you have your mask off make sure to practice good cleanliness practices. Wash your hands with soap as soon as you enter your house, before eating, after going to the washroom etc. Also refrain from touching your mouth, nose, eyes if your hands haven’t been properly cleaned first.

Properly removing your mask isn’t difficult, but it is very important. The main thing to remember is to assume that the front of the mask is contaminated. Don’t touch it with your hands or let the front of the mask touch anything while you are removing it.

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N95Masks

What is a N95 mask?

There is much confusion and misinformation about the classification and certification of respirators and face masks.

For example, lets look at N95 masks that are NIOSH Approved.

N95

The ‘N” means it is not resistant to petroleum products and contaminants. There are two more ratings and they are R, which is somewhat resistant to petroleum and P, which is strongly resistant to petroleum.

The ’95’ means that it is designed to block 95% of particles that are 0.3 μm (microns) or bigger. For reference a single virus is usually about 3 μm.

So the N95 means it is a mask that is not resistant to petroleum products and contaminants.

NIOSH stands for “The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health”. Here is the what they say on their website about page:

“The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 established NIOSH as a research agency focused on the study of worker safety and health, and empowering employers and workers to create safe and healthy workplaces. NIOSH is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It has the mandate to assure “every man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” NIOSH has more than 1,300 employees from a diverse set of fields including epidemiology, medicine, nursing, industrial hygiene, safety, psychology, chemistry, statistics, economics, and many branches of engineering.”

NIOSH approved means that the NIOSH organisation has approved the mask to be of a certain quality or performance. In this case, they certify that a mask meets the N95 standard.

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N95Masks

N95 Mask – Standard or Valved?

When buying N95 masks there are many options on the market. One choice you will come across is to choose a standard N95 respirator without a valve, or to get a mask with a valve.

The valve in facemasks are there to make the mask more comfortable for you, especially when wearing the mask for longer periods of time. When you exhale, the valve opens up and lets the hot air through the valve instead of having to force the air through the mask filter. This makes it easier to breath and also keeps you cooler. It also helps the mask not get damp / soiled as it lets the hot and humid exhalation air out quickly and directly.

Masks with valves will still protect your inhaled breaths as when you breath in, the valve is closed and the mask will filter as a standard mask would do.

This is what 3M says about their 3M Cool Flow valves:

“The Cool Flow valve’s efficiency in keeping breathing cool and comfortable has been demonstrated through testing*: the atmosphere inside a respirator with a Cool Flow valve is on average 7.5°F cooler than the similar product without the valve. This makes Cool Flow valve respirators ideal for long periods of wear, especially where conditions are hot, humid or physically demanding. *Testing conducted in a 3M laboratory. Testing protocol, data generation and conclusions were reviewed and approved by an expert from The University of Minnesota”

It is also important to note when you should not use a valved mask. If you are in a sterile healthcare environment you SHOULD NOT wear a valved mask. The reason is that the mask will not filter out contaminants from your exhaled breath. This will contaminate the environment around the wearer. By the same token, for containment purposes for example, if someone is sick with something transmissible or contagious they should wear a standard mask, NOT a valved mask.

There you have it, now you know when to choose a standard N95 mask and when to choose a valved N95 facemask.