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What to Look for in a Good Respirator Mask

Learn why choosing the right respirator mask can make a big difference when it comes to preventing contracting or spreading diseases in your environment.

Designing strong Respiratory Protection Programs is critical in preventing the spread of occupational diseases in the workspace. The right types of personal protective equipment help prevent lung contamination from virus, bacteria, dust, fumes, gases, smoke, and vapors. When looking for a good respirator mask, there are a variety of factors to consider.

4 Key Features to Look for in a Good Respirator Mask

1. Comfort

While there may be seemingly effective respirator masks on the market today, if they aren’t comfortable, most people won’t wear them while doing their jobs. After the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), in 2003, there was extensive research on the use of respirators. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers found that discomfort and intolerance were serious and frequent complaints among Health Care Workers (HCWs). With long and tense work days, HCWs speculated that the use of uncomfortable, ill-fitting masks could have been the reason for their headaches, facial heat and pressure, and shortness of breath. Additionally, HCWs found them to interfere with their occupational duties as well, resulting in sub-optimal usage compliance rates. leading to a very sad statistic:  43% of SARS fatalities were among HCWs.

2. Effectiveness

Clinical studies in the 1980s and 1990s found no statistical difference in infection rates whether healthcare workers wore surgical masks during operations or not. An OSHA study of the top-5 surgical masks on the market failed their seal test 85-100% of the time. Not all respirators on the market are ineffective, but many can be. 

OCTO® Respirator Mask (ORM) is designed to exceed current US standards, to meet the B95 rating, from the B.R.E.A.T.H.E. Report

3. Breathability AND Speech Clarity

Workers need to be able to breathe comfortably while using a respirator mask, but they also need to be able to communicate clearly with their co-workers, and others. If the respirator mask does not deliver on both of these aspects, workers are less likely to wear it, sometimes with dire consequences.

4. Good ROI

The cost-effectiveness of respirator masks is an important consideration when making an informed choice. Disposable paper-filter masks are initially cheaper, but they must be replaced after every single use. The OCTO® Respirator Mask (ORM) is specifically designed to be environmentally- and wallet-friendly, as they can be sterilized many times just by boiling them in clean water for 3-5 minutes or by autoclaving.

Not all respirator masks are created equal.

The bottom line when it comes to face masks and elastomeric respirator masks is that they must be considered a potentially life-saving device. However, in so many cases, cost takes the front seat and the end-users are stuck using ineffective systems that they hate to wear.

Whether you’re looking for a respirator mask for personal or commercial use, make sure you understand if what you’re investing in to protect you will do the job!