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Advocacy & Safety Cyclists should expect and demand safe accommodation on every public road, just as do all other users. Discuss your bicycle advocacy and safety concerns here.

View Poll Results: Do you or would you wear a mask or not?
Yes. 5 22.73%
No. I would not be seen dead in one. 3 13.64%
There is no need where I live. 8 36.36%
Maybe. But I have not got one for other reasons. 6 27.27%
Voters: 22. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-24-02, 12:17 AM   #1
Weasel
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Face masks

Does anyone wear, or is tempted to wear a face mask? Or would you not be seen dead wearing one?

I am considering it after riding through rush-hour traffic, behind busses/cars/lorries etc, and after watching a report on the news regarding causes of lung cancer. Air pollution caused by exhaust fumes just can not do your lungs any good whatsoever, although they did state they still can not prove what the long-term effects of Carbonmonoxide emissions cause.

Thanks.
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Old 05-24-02, 12:30 AM   #2
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I would have no problems wearing a face mask in heavy traffic or innercity riding. In some cities, i dont think i would dare ride without. When i was in Bangkok, ~25% of people walking down the sidewalk, had some type of face mask on. You could taste the polution, it was sick.

http://www.respro.com/urbancommuting_cycling.html
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Old 05-24-02, 01:53 AM   #3
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I typically keep a mask handy around my neck. It's not a filtered mask, it's just a mask made of that foamy material (i forget what it's called) and fleece. It keeps mud and whatever off my face and it helps me breathe in those nasty stong head winds. It's really comfy too. I may pick up a filtered mask this summer.
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Old 05-24-02, 05:33 AM   #4
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My good wife used to use one when she commuted accross London and found it quite, erm, useful. It can be somewhat disconcerting to blow your nose and see that the contents of your hankie are black. I really don't think appearances matter that much in these circumstances.
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Old 05-24-02, 10:27 AM   #5
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I keep thinking of trying one but don't like the thought of restricted breathing - I pant enough as it is - how bad are they?

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Old 05-24-02, 10:39 AM   #6
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It hasn't gotten that bad yet, even in Philly. If it ever does, I'd consider it.

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Old 05-24-02, 11:30 AM   #7
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pollution would have to get much worse in Las Vegas for me to need to wear one (although we are getting to that point quite quickly ) but if it gets to that point, I really don't see a problem with one.
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Old 05-24-02, 01:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Joe Gardner
When i was in Bangkok, ~25% of people walking down the sidewalk, had some type of face mask on. You could taste the polution, it was sick.
Thanks, Joe, for the stark illustration. This is exactly why pollution needs to be controlled.

It's not the job of people walking down the street to wear masks.
It's the job of automakers to make clean-running automobiles.
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Old 05-24-02, 02:09 PM   #9
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Could also be due to the 1,000,000 + motorcycles and tuk-tuks in the city that have little, or no type of emission control... However, i have to say, riding on the back of a tuk-tuk, or motorcycle taxi, cutting thru all the cars, was quit a blast , right Mike?
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Old 05-24-02, 05:51 PM   #10
John C. Ratliff
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I have used one on occasion here in the Portland area. My main concern is two-fold:

--Diesel fumes
--Wearing the right respiratory protection

Diesel fumes have been shown to be carcinogenic, and for a small while there was a move during the Clinton administration to have OSHA regulate them. This did not happen; there are too many economic factors coming to play.

The problem I see with some of the responses is that the respiratory protection some are using really don't filter out the "bad actors" in diesel fumes. These are very, very tiny particles which will go through the regular handkerchief or around an ill-fitting mask. The mask needs to seal, and should be approved (if you're in the US) to NIOSH standards for "hazardous dust."

Some masks sold (usually with only one strap) state that they are for either "Non-hazardous dust," or "Road dust." These quite simply don't filter anything but very huge (on a microscopic level) dust particles. The problem is that we already filter these dust particles in our upper respiratory system. So basically, these are "feel good" masks which don't really do much good at all.

The hazardous dust (containing things like silica, asbestos fibers, etc.) are particles so small that we cannot filter them out in our respiratory system. They therefore go deep into the lung, into the air sacs themselves, and imbed there. Our lungs cannot get rid of them, so they stay there. Our lungs try to do something, and many times (with silica, for example) form scar tissue. If our lungs cannot encapsulate the fibers (such as asbestos), then the fibers continue with each lung movement to abraide and tear at tissue on a microscopic level, and can thereby induce cell changes, including inducing a rare form of cancer (mesothelioma).

So respiratoy protection must filter these particles out, and they must also filter chemicals and gases. Diesel smoke has many different gases which won't be filtered out by any particle mask. To filter these, you need some media to absorb the gas, usually activated charcoal. There are some masks out there which do filter these out. I'll try to attach a web site which illustrates these types for you.

http://www.cdc.gov/od/ohs/manual/respprot.htm

Good luck,

John

PS--I've been in the Safety Profession for 25 years now.
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Old 05-25-02, 05:36 AM   #11
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I don't have the pollution here, but am considering a mask for insect purposes. Also, maybe one of those masks for colder weather....nothing more fun than coming home from a late commute and lying in bed listening to your lungs imitate a drunken bagpiper....
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Old 05-25-02, 07:06 AM   #12
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Cheers guys, I wasn't quite sure if anyone else had really thought about using them.

I would only really use it during the rush-hour, especially when you can actually see the 'air' hanging around, otherwise it would be stuck in my rucksack. The website Joe pointed out sells the 'Techno' which contains an activated charcoal filter, so I might take a closer look at that.

I agree with LBM that it is not our job to wear masks, but perhaps if more of us did, would it 'stun' people into doing something? I mean here in Germany, they are trying to force people out of their diesel cars by taxing them more than cars which run on unleaded fuel (I mean road tax, although diesel is generally cheaper than the other fuel)! It is meant to be an environmentally friendly country, so I might just wear one not only to protect myself, but also to prove a point of somekind.

It probably would not make any difference to people anyway.

Thanks again.
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Old 05-25-02, 06:07 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by LittleBigMan
It's not the job of people walking down the street to wear masks. It's the job of automakers to make clean-running automobiles.
Keep in mind that I did not mean masks were not important for self-protection. I intended to place the responsibility where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of polluters.

Maybe I should wear one, but I'd prefer to ride away from the "particulate matter."

Don't masks make it hot and hard to breathe?

G whiz, this whole discussion sort of makes me angry...
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Last edited by LittleBigMan; 05-25-02 at 06:10 PM.
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