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How does an N95 respirator help to safeguard you in areas with poor air quality caused by pollution or wildfires? 

By: Skylar Carr 

In the face of escalating air pollution caused by rampant wildfires, preserving clean and breathable air has become a pressing concern. Amidst these challenges, the envo® mask provides reliable protection. According to the New York Times, “People in areas affected should take the smoke seriously. Use N95 face masks, which filter 95 percent of airborne particles, and stay inside if you can” (New York Times. www.nytimes.com. Accessed 6/20/2023).  

“The AQI is a rating system that shows the severity of pollution in the air on a scale from 0 to 500. It’s a complex calculation that is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The rating is created by measuring five major pollutants: ground-level ozone, particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide. Ground-level ozone and particulate matter, or particle pollution, are the two air pollutants that are most widespread and pose the greatest risk to our health.” (Enviornmental Protection Agency. www.epa.org. Accessed 7/7/2023).  

An AQI under 50 is considered good air quality, meaning that it is safe for everyone to spend time outdoors without posing a risk to their health. As the AQI number increases, however, so does the risk to health. An AQI of over 300 is considered hazardous. Consult the Index created by the EPA below: 

Poor air quality can threaten anyone’s health, so it is crucial to be aware of the effects and ways to protect yourself.  

  • Stress to Heart: Poor air quality can trigger inflammation and stress on the body. This systemic inflammation can directly impact the cardiovascular system, leading to increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and even potential heart attacks or other cardiovascular diseases.  
  • Asthma: Poor air quality often contains allergens, irritants, and pollutants that can trigger or exacerbate asthma symptoms. These substances can irritate the airways, causing inflammation and constriction, making it difficult for individuals with asthma to breathe properly. Prolonged exposure to polluted air can lead to frequent asthma attacks.  
  • Coughing and Wheezing: When pollutants and particulate matter contaminate the air we breathe, they can irritate the respiratory system. In response, the body expels these irritants by inducing coughing and wheezing. Prolonged exposure to poor air quality can lead to chronic coughing and wheezing, causing discomfort and potentially damaging the respiratory system.  
  • Respiratory Diseases: Inhaling pollutants and harmful airborne particulates present in the air   damages the respiratory system and increases the risk of developing respiratory diseases. These pollutants can penetrate the lungs, causing inflammation, scarring, and reduced lung function. Over time, this can lead to chronic respiratory conditions such as chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and lung cancer.  
  • Sore Throat: Poor air quality often contains pollutants and irritants that can irritate the delicate tissues of the throat. Continuous exposure to these harmful substances can lead to a persistent sore throat, dryness, and discomfort. Additionally, pollutants in the air can contribute to the spread of respiratory infections, further exacerbating throat irritation.  
  • Eye Irritation: Polluted air can contain irritants like smoke and dust that can cause eye problems. These irritants can lead to redness, itching, burning sensation, and even excessive tearing. Prolonged exposure to poor air quality can contribute to the development of chronic eye conditions such as dry eye syndrome or conjunctivitis.  

(Enviornmental Protection Agency. www.epa.org. Accessed 7/7/2023) 

So how exactly can an N95 respirator help keep you safe, comfortable, and healthy in areas with poor air quality? Consider the following scenarios: 

Jake, a traffic police officer in a busy city, check his weather app before his workday. He notices the air quality index (AQI) is 160, which poses health risks and hinders his ability to perform his duties. Determined to continue protecting the community, he opts to wear an envo® mask N95 respirator during his patrols. This elastomeric respirator, equipped with N95 filters, allows him to navigate the busy streets while minimizing the harmful effects of poor air quality. With his proactive approach and reliable protection, Jake remains committed to ensuring the safety of pedestrians and drivers despite the adverse conditions. 

Steve works in a city experiencing heavy smoke and ash from nearby wildfires. His daily commute consists of walking to work, which means spending considerable time outdoors. Concerned about his health and the potential long-term effects of breathing in polluted air, Steve opts to wear an envo ® pro N95 respirator during his daily commute. Using an N95 respirator allows him to significantly reduce his exposure to harmful particulates and ensure a safer journey to and from work.   

At a local care facility staff diligently attend to their vulnerable elderly residents. Many of the residents enjoy spending a portion of the day outside, but the air quality has been poor in recent days. The staff decides to provide residents with envo® pro N99 respirators to wear when they venture outside. This thoughtful gesture safeguards the resident’s health, enabling them to continue enjoying the outdoors while minimizing the impact of poor air quality on their respiratory system.   

The individuals in these three scenarios may benefit from wearing the envo® mask N95 respirator, the envo® pro N95 respirator, or the envo® pro N99 respirator to mitigate their exposure to poor air quality.  

Envo® utilizes patented AIRgel® technology and offers N95 and N99 respirators certified by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). Find more information about how you can safeguard yourself, your colleagues, and your loved ones from poor air quality by visiting the envo® store today and checking out the product offerings in this line of reusable PPE. 

Envo® mask N95 respirator 

Our reusable quarter-face respirator is NIOSH-approved, comfortable, secure, and designed for long-term wear. The envo® mask combines respiratory protection with superior comfort in a sleek, compact design. Approved for use with our N95 filters, the envo® mask comes with or without an exhalation valve. 

Envo® pro respirator  

The next level of protection in our line-up of respiratory masks, the envo® pro, is a reusable half-face elastomeric respirator certified by NIOSH. Designed to fit most faces, the envo® pro offers additional face coverage while providing secure protection and comfort. Approved for use with either our N95 or N99 filters. Our N99 filters come with a built-in exhalation valve.