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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.

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N95Masks

N95 Masks

Yes, we still have some N95 masks available for sale.

All the masks we have are NIOSH N95 certified.

Both regular N95 respirator masks and valved N95 masks available.

View some of the N95 masks that we have in stock.

Please email us for current pricing.

Shipping worldwide.

email – support at n95surgicalmasks.com

N95 masks
n95 surgical masks

Note: prices are currently higher than regular due to very high global demand