Alex asks: What are the best masks for smoky days?
MCP Team answer: 885 wildfires are currently raging across Canada alone. The smoke from these fires that has smothered the Eastern United States is not expected to clear until October. And it brings with it dangerously high levels of toxic chemicals in the air we breathe.
Last week we talked about the dangers of wildlife smoke to our health and a number of things we can do to stay safe – including masks. Here, we will dive in a little deeper and share the best masks to protect you and your loved ones from toxic wildfire smoke.
Best N95 masks for smoke:
The N95 masks that many of us bought in response to the COVID-19 pandemic actually double as protection from the dangers of wildfire smoke. Here are our two top recommendations:
- 3M 9205+ Aura Particulate Respirators N95 – This one is NIOSH approved and has at least 95 percent filtration efficiency against certain particles. And right now it’s on sale for $17.99 CAD for 10 masks (regularly $39.99). It offers protection against both smoke and virus particles, and fits a wide variety of face shapes.
- MEDICPRO N95 – This mask has five layers of filtration and has the ability to filter out particles as small as PM2.5 – the most dangerous pollutant caused by wildfires. These are also NIOSH approved and have an adjustable aluminum nose clip for better protection. You can buy a 10 pack for $17.99 USD plus shipping.
Best reusable respirator:
For those of us looking for an option that will help keep more masks out of landfills, a reusable respirator is a great option. These industrial strength masks provide a high level of protection, and can also be easily disassembled and cleaned for reuse. Most companies suggest replacing the filters if they become dirty, broke, or hard to breathe through.
- 3M Half Face-Piece Reusable Respirator 6000 Series – These high-powered, reusable masks are equipped with filters that can protect you from harmful pollutants in the air including smoke, mould, bacteria and biological particles. This one is particularly lightweight and easy to adjust for a tight seal. You can buy the respirator online for $39.99 CAD, and replacement filters come in a 2-pack for $12.99 CAD.
Best mask for kids:
- U&I kids’ KF94 masks – These masks come highly recommended by parents. Their small frame and adjustable straps gives them the best fit on little faces, which provides higher protection from airborne pollutants like smoke. These are recommended for kids aged 2 – 5. They are a slightly pricier option at $15.99 USD each plus shipping. But in the difficult to navigate world of children’s masks – finding one that’s highly recommended by parents and professionals is worth the cost.
Wildfires are predicted to increase in duration and frequency due to climate change. And the smoke from these fires can have serious consequences for our health. The right masks are a great tool for everyone to have on hand to help keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
Thanks for the great question Alex. Wishing you and your family a safe and healthy summer.
We will be selecting a new question each week so feel free to submit your questions here and we will add them to our list.