What is the difference between a cloth face mask and an n95 mask?
A cloth mask is a disposable, loose-fitting barrier to protect against infectious droplets. The material is not desgined to protect against the smallest infectious materials. Medical grade face masks do provide protection agaisnt bacteria and fluid resistance, but don't make claims to protect against viruses like covid-19. The CDC recommends people wear face masks such as Curad masks because N95 respirators are prioritized for health care workers (1).
There are surgical n95 masks that protect against fluids and viruses like covid-19, but you can't get these at your local walgreens or walmart. Harmony sells Gerson surgical n95 masks but prioritizes health care staff. These surgical N95 respirators are class II devices regulated by the FDA, under 21 CFR 878.4040, and CDC NIOSH under 42 CFR Part 84.
N95 and higher rated respirators provide protection against viruses and particles that are smaller than droplets and bacteria. You can read more about the differences between face masks and respirators on the FDA's website (2). The significant difference between surgical masks and respirators lies in their usage and protection levels. No matter the type of personal protective device you use, always ensure that your respirator is always fresh. The respirator should also be able to protect you from any airborne infection.
(1) CDC Source:
(2) FDA Source:
For respirators with valves, use the n95 as a base layer of respiratory protection and wear a surgical mask over the respirator.
Do you need an N95 mask?
Check your hazard's label to see which specific mask you need. For pesticide protection, a label should indicate whether a NIOSH approved N, P, or R filter will protect you. For example, if it says "Any NIOSH Approved P respirator" then you may choose either a P95, P99, or P100 mask to be protected. Medical and hospital staff should follow CDC recommendations. N95 and higher rated respirators are prioritized to hospital and health care staff.
Why do disposable respirators have different styles?
N95 masks have different styles, but they all provide the same graded level of efficient protection. Whether you buy a Moldex, 3M, or Duramask they all abide by the same NIOSH guidelines. Many find a larger breathing chamber to be comfortable for all-day use, useful for a socially distant office. Some 3M masks have an aluminum nose clip that adjusts for a secure seal with nose foam for extra comfort. Models with a Breather valve makes it comfortable for workers to exhale for cool respiration, but the valve must be covered with a cloth mask for grocery shopping, air travel, etc. Even Fauci says that two is better than one!
Where to buy n95 masks?
Workers associated with the construction or agriculture industry are often exposed to dust and fumes resulting from road work, pesticides, or fertilizer. Find OSHA Certified Disposable respiratory masks at Harmony Lab & Safety Supplies, a leading provider of N95 Masks. Harmony beats the prices you find at your local Walgreens and Walmart, and we stock trusted brands rather than the knock-off generics sold at big box stores. Find the highest quality Respiratory Protection that is essential for work in hazardous environments. A lifetime of lung damage can be prevented with 3M respirators. Save on respiratory protection with Harmony - we beat your local Walgreens!
If your employees are constantly exposed to hazardous environments, do not forget to take preventive measures. We provide a comprehensive range of NIOSH-approved protection masks. Have a look at products in this category and select one that fits your occupational requirements. Place your order now at (800) 899-1255 or online and save.